India and its Constitution have three avengers, i.e. the Legislative, Executive and Judiciary. These were created and vested with separate powers to work for people and discharge their duties faithfully and loyally. The media’s long presence was believed to be the fourth avenger of the country.
The inception of media was for the purpose of entertainment and dissemination of information from one corner to the corner of the country, or the world. The first Asian newspaper was Bengal Hickys Gazette, which was started in 1780 by James Augustus Hicky in Calcutta, followed by other media including radio broadcasting in 1927. London-based Gramophone and Typewriter Ltd arrived on the Indian shores in 1902 and after 1908 was simply called Gramophone Company Ltd.
Media is called the fourth pillar because it is believed that media can help in the better governance of a nation and reach people sitting in the deepest and densest parts of the country. The three avengers are like the pillars holding a roof, standing wide apart, equally distributing the weight off the roof, where the roof is the democracy.
The addition of the fourth pillar has to be a boon in distributing the weight judicially. But today, it is no less than a bane. Today, these pillars have changed places and are sparsely moving. They have dislocated the fulcrum of governance and led to the collapse of the whole infrastructure.
Rousseau’s social contract theory said that each person should execute the duties prescribed to them so that the balance of society is maintained, and if one bounces off his job to some other person’s job, it will create chaos in society. His theory was easily understood through an example of a car and its wheels. Today, these informative autocrats have given way to a facade democracy and information manipulation.
By selling their obliguetta to the echelons, some murdered the basic framework of their catechism. The media today has become biased, releasing hoax information and acts as a charade of truth, covering the truth. The polarisation of media has opened gates for politicians and bureaucrats who fill their deep pockets and brains with faeces. Information and media are considered the greatest weapon for knowledge or destruction. If used wisely, they can change the demographic dividend of the country and if used deviously, can shed the whole demographic dividend in a doomsday.
Today, the media is just about selling what is right for their hoarders and what helps them get maximum TRPs. These TRPs are the fishiest to get and easiest to lose, and hence are like fireflies. Media is used as a tool for information disposal from the top of a pyramid to the lower rung of it. Times changed so swiftly — from the times when Pt Nehru used to walk the country to connect with masses and understand them, which also helped him compile a fat volume of pages from the prison called Discovery of India; and Gandhiji also walking to connect and considering himself one among all brethren, to further times when our country’s own ‘Priyadarshini’ aka Indira Gandhi connected across millions using All India Radio, to finally now, when the media acts as a virtual platform helping to connect a person sitting in a room to another person in the farthest corner of the earth. From information being received from all around the globe, above and below, the media have evolved itself, but also become malleable.
Politicians have started using media houses for their own selfish and cynical means, hence branding them as demagogues and bigots. Rather than acting as a redeemer of society, they have started acting as sold-out chauvinists at the hands of their priests. At its inception, media was believed to reflect as an example with power, but not as powerful as an example for society. Evolution could be negative or positive but surely, Darwin hasn’t proposed a negative theory of evolution.