Media has a big influence on everything in ever increasing digital age. Media, in the forms of print, web-based, vlogs, television etc, is no-doubt expanding its penetration in our household.
The expansion of media in India increased with the dawn of satellite and cable networks in late 1990’s. Then came the time when the story of a kid who fell in the borehole gripped the nation. India at that time was still experimenting with the live television and it was a welcome change from the usual 30 minute news which used to be in the passive voice of he-said and she-said.
Now for past few years it seems that the Indian television media is obsessed with the politics and politicians in general. Every day there is a debate on almost all new channels – where the participants speak over one another and it seems like more a decibel competition and less of any substance. Sometimes even the most serious debate and discussion topics end up being inconclusive and vague. Headlines are just about politics or some celebrity controversy.
We are a nation of over a billion people and it seems that we not only misrepresented by the television media but most of the times under-represented. A country with a huge divide between rich and poor in which a big percentage of population doesn’t have access to basic amenities; where is the time for debates about politics? When media could use its resources and might for highlighting the issues and reforms that matter, why is it busy with just loud noises?
Even if any major issues like farmer suicide makes it to the headlines – it always ends up in party blame game. Waving off farmer loans is just addressing the symptoms, where is the media questioning the real reforms with long lasting effect? We have drought hit villages like Latur where there is water scarcity, there is endless pollution in cities, not to mention the baggage of corruption and lack of civic sense among people in general and why no-one seems to bring it to light?
The unemployment is a major issue yet none is questioning the reforms in the number of children a couple can have. Instead we find the food habits of people more amusing. Try watching a news channel for hour and even more and you will still not know what is happening around you but you will know some leak about some politician.
The primarily role of surveillance that media is playing is good – it keeps the people in power in check. But the debates will be more meaningful if the people in various posts were questioned about their accountability, about the reforms, the policies, the social inequality, gender bias and the list is endless.
Media could hit the right cords and push the politicians to be a part of a solution and not the problem.