Well media, the third pillar of democracy as it is called, owes a great responsibility towards citizens. People follow media as their second religion, get influenced by it blindly. Media has the power to turn white into black and vice versa. At many times it has helped the community towards betterment, and at times it has worsened it.
Today’s media coverage includes religion, politics, ethnicity, caste and all. It shapes our moral beliefs; it shapes our ideology. It forces us to think about what we have not thought of. It sometimes causes us to forget our morals and behave like fools.
It is such a powerful medium that many laws have been framed through it on popular demand. Few examples to substantiate this are; the Juvenile Justice Act was amended majorly in 2016 when there was heavy uproar in the country after the Nirbhaya gang-rape case. The mystery of Sushant Singh Rajput’s death by suicide was handed over to CBI after the media highlighted some evidence alleging it to be a homicide case.
What is shown in media is what people start believing even if it does not exist. So, what’s wrong to show what is existing and important? Earlier online education in India was believed to be a foreign affair, and people were reluctant to adopt it, but we have recently seen a paradigm shift in the education sector in India in 2020 due to the covid-19 lockdown.
Education shifted completely to online mode due to the pandemic when people had no choice but to adopt this alternative. Students faced a lot of hardships in attending online classes as these are not regularised properly. When media needed to highlight online education, it was busy telecasting “Tablighi Jamaat“, “Kumbh Mela”, “Religious war”, “politics”, and all.
Had media showcased the importance of online education and issues faced by the same, the situation would have been different. Media owes a responsibility to the citizens and the future of this country; it owes a responsibility to regularize online education. It owes a responsibility to force the states to think about the issues they face and make laws accordingly.
A lot of non-sense was reported during online classes, which includes harassment, embracement, privacy infringement, etc., but it received significantly less media coverage as this was not a burning topic as politics and religion. There is no dissemination of information by media to show how online classes can be made better and maintain a standard.
Students, particularly Indian students, are not used to online education. So it becomes the responsibility of the media to make it new normal. Knowing its power to change and shape the world, media houses can start telecasting the technical resource persons who will talk about online education and make parents, students and teachers feel comfortable about this new form of education. It can also start collecting feedback from the general public and highlight the same, and then the government will frame the policies accordingly. Disseminating information and seeking regular feedback will help to make it the new normal.
The teaching staff is not well versed with technology. There is a need for technical staff in the universities and colleges, but the media hardly cares about it so is the government. There are no requirements of computer application to be eligible to become a professor in Indian Universities, so teaching staff is still at the learning stage. The media’s coverage of these issues would help the government to revise the eligibility accordingly. In addition, it will help the government to make some basic application courses for the existing professors and teachers.
It is high time that there is proper online education in India with appropriate standards and legal norms.