The media has enormous power. It is undergoing huge changes now. It seemed like it’s time to step back and look at how the media shapes our lives and perceptions of reality.
— Thomas Hunt Morgan
A democracy without the media is like a vehicle without wheels. Considered the fourth pillar of democracy, the media contributes a lot to the three core processes of a democracy, namely transparency, publicity and accountability, which strengthen the democracy.
The media is an unbiased informer that acts as an educator, mentor, guardian, and moreover, the architect of formation of public opinion in social, political and economic arenas. The media reveals the drawbacks and loopholes in a democratic system. This also helps the government in eliminating the loopholes and making the system more responsible, responsive and receptive.
News has lost its worthiness and the its priorities have shifted from people to serving the regime. It’s supported by business houses that control and set agendas, all in the name of the freedom of the press.
Six months since the WHO declared the coronavirus as a global pandemic, India’s Covid- 19 tally has crossed the 45 lakh mark and has already been recording more number of new cases than Brazil for the last few days. As major lockdown provisions got enforced since the WHO announcement to tackle the pandemic, as many as 41 lakh youths in the country lost their jobs — with construction and farm sector workers accounting for the majority of job losses — and about 5 million salaried Indians lost their jobs, Indian reported a lack of proper healthcare infrastructure, and moreover, India’s economic growth slipped to 23.9% in Q1 of 2020- 2021.
Rather than focusing on these pressing issues and evaluating, analysing and pointing out the loopholes in the policies being implemented by the government in order to overcome the crisis situation, the Indian media has been focusing on the sensational news of Sushant Singh Rajput’s death mystery and has dragged the case like a saas-bahu serial just to gain high TRPs.
News anchors have become judges and pass their judgments shamelessly without any ethical consideration. Instead of waiting for concerned authorities to give their verdict on the case, TV channels have been continuously showering their own judgement in the Sushant-Rhea case. And adding to it, the focus has now been shifted on Kangana Ranaut.
Similarly, the role of social media has become a major source of recycling absurdities coming from the mainstream media.
As aptly said by Malcom X, “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”
The crisis of the Indian media is writing a new history that recommends the death of critical journalism with constant manufactured opinion and no accountability. This making of a new history is to make people consumers over citizens, whose only job is to remain a passive entity.
According to me, the time has come for the media to change its course and shift back its focus on presenting, analysing, evaluating and constructively criticising issues that cater to the needs and aspirations of the citizens of the country.