This article is written by Akshaya Chintala from Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad. The article analyses the Role of Media in times of Social Disharmony.
Table of Contents
At the country’s current station, there is a strong need for the media to play an important role in preserving social and cultural harmony. The first idea of journalism is to show what you have seen and learned in front of the public through the media. In this electronic age, a segment of the media reports and publishes news on the basis of their opinions rather than presenting facts, which is a significant challenge to social harmony and national unity. The media’s ability as a force multiplier and a means of war must be understood. Failure to identify and combat enemy media use could lead to unparalleled military and national failures. It must be understood that today’s decisions are no longer focused on facts, but on how things are portrayed. Mass media is a way of transmitting information from a knowledge source (communicator) to the knowledge receiver (communicators).
The entry of information by mass media has an effect on social change throughout the culture. The article deals with the possible effects of what social media can have on individuals. Social media is everywhere and obviously, no one can escape it. The current study is not merely an overview of the Role of Social Media in the current time of social disharmony, but it tries to cover all aspects of how media has an impact on an individual. As rapid as light, social media has alluded itself into politics, work, homelife and everywhere else. The very existence of social media is a part of the fabric attached to our lives now and tends to be an integral part of our life.
Purpose of media and the influence of media in today’s society
Media is powerful medicine, if the medicine is used properly it can heal many ills, if the medicine is misused it can become poison. Consciously or unintentionally, mass media has become an integral part of everyday life. Through the media, we will know a lot of stuff that can be taught. News about events that have taken place abroad and domestically to be known quickly and easily through the mass media. This is because the mass media has the capacity to deliver information effectively. The role of the media in promoting communal harmony means information dissemination which combats propaganda for riots, intolerance, or racism. Media is more or less the food or the main nutrient of life which may be used to strengthen or weaken society. This is why it tends to leave behind huge effects in our day to day social and psychological relationships. This is because social media cannot always be used as a positive way and understanding the potential dangers of social media is extremely necessary and beneficial because it tends to affect you as an individual and aids in promoting social disharmony.
The mass media consists of print media, like the newspapers, magazines, and electronic media like the social networking agencies, traditionally consisting of the Television and radio along with the recently added social media apps and the internet itself. In a democratic society like India, the media plays a very major role by giving information to the citizens and by reflecting their opinions at a large scale impacting different communities. Regardless of the age, we live in, newspapers still continue to pursue a profit-making job and keep their readers fully informed providing space to a plurality of views.
Media acts as a fourth pillar of the society but sometimes it can even outsmart the rest of the pillars which are the judiciary, executive and legislature which in turn creates an imbalance in the system. There are two main areas in which media institutions and judiciary have a conflict with each other, first is the media trial which means the impact of media coverage on a person’s reputation by creating a widespread perception of guilt or innocence before, or after, a verdict in the Court of law. The second is, “Prejudge” which means judge prematurely without having proper information regarding the facts. A large section of the media, especially the national print and electronic media, stood firmly as one bloc, criticising the violence and exposing its perpetrators and collaborators. A few bold reporters and amateur filmmakers used compact digital video recorders to document, broadcast or disseminate through CDs accounts of the targeted violence. There were also initiatives to use the media to spread messages of peace, communal harmony and to provide life- saving information about relief. Thus, the media and its role in communal peace and harmony are like a “double-edged sword.”
Should Media be used as a potent tool to promote Communal Harmony?
The media should widen the horizons of thought. Many people who live in traditional cultures believe the media to have magical powers when you first encounter it, as the media can make a person see and encounter places they have never been and people whom they have never met. The media also made people understand other people’s lives in developed countries so that they can gain a new perspective. When we talk about the purpose of media it eventually started only to provide us with information about current news, and sometimes providing us with gossip and information about famous personalities, talking about fashion or latest gadgets available at the marketplace for consumers was its initial job. It used to provide geographical indication and historical knowledge of how people got separated and divided.
In today’s era, information technology has left a deep impact on how we think and react. Media became a source of change in Education, entertainment, Advancement of technology & Information. With the advancement in technology day by day, society is also deeply influenced by the media and it is the sole role played by the media houses through which people are kept updated with day to day happenings. Especially keeping in mind the new 4G era media leaves behind deep bad effects in this generation. The growth of mass media, particularly with the advent of electronic mass media (modern mass media) makes us feel more or less constantly overwhelmed, not happy, and an instant lifestyle like this without any awareness would destroy the imagination that is in use in the future. This can be mainly because the current youth can be strongly influenced by anything and everything they see as they are so gullible and innocent that the media can control and manipulate their minds.
The impact of the media on culture has increased rapidly in the world. Renewal of intangibles changes nothing and is pessimistic in a positive direction. The media impact is linked to other factors, such as the essence of the communicator, the content/information of the media itself, as well as community reactions. In India, communalism is understood in a negative way and has come to mean a kind of pride in one’s community on the grounds of religion, caste or language, which is accompanied by hatred of others’ religion and culture. The slide begins when one faith begins to encroach upon a separate conviction. The first symptom of fundamentalism is aggression. When this aggression is channelled through an organized section of the community, it becomes communalism. To maintain and strengthen communal harmony, society has to use different channels and mediums.
Media is one of the most potent and effective mediums given its wide reach, effective delivery mechanism and ability to mobilize public opinion. Media focuses on affecting the people’s perspective wherein too much media intervention has taken place and is therefore also considered to be a ‘watchdog’ of our nation. Social media nowadays is changing the way we perceive the world. Be it in terms of communication or social interaction. It has affected the generation both positively and negatively. It is genuinely believed that the media plays a very important role because a strong news industry is also critical to building an informed community. Giving people a voice is not enough without having people dedicated to uncovering new information and analysing it.
There is more we must do to support the news industry to make sure this vital social function is sustainable from growing local news to developing formats best suited to mobile devices, to improving the range of business models news organizations rely on. In today’s world, connecting everyone to the internet is also necessary for building an informed community. For the majority of people around the world, the debate is not about the quality of public discourse but whether they have access to basic information they need at all, often related to health, education and jobs. The media today plays a very important role and also achieves its role of influencing people’s mindset because it succeeds in its job by giving people a voice as a principle to lead our community and value their opinion. As we look ahead in developing and empowering each other for global welfare, the media often takes it as an advantage by empowering and validating our opinions and likeminded people connecting to each other easily are getting influenced by the media.
Therefore, the impact of media promoting communal disharmony is beyond doubt. People cheer on the achievement of a kid in the nationwide talent hunt programme irrespective of his religion. People feel dejected about the people affected in flood or earthquake or any other natural disaster irrespective of their belongingness to any religious group. These benefits percolate to all the people of a nation and credit goes to the media only.
Conclusion and suggestions
Media is the means of communication that reaches or influences people widely and has a significant place in the statecraft machinery especially in the age of information revolution. It is the source of information for society regarding any issue be it local, regional or global, people rely and even trust on what is presented to them by the media. The effect of mass media may involve a wide variety of activities that deviate from social expectations or cultural values. In modern times, the public usually believes that this is not something that breaks the standard, but is instead considered part of the mainstream phenomenon. In fact, the growth of mass media is very rapid and can be experienced easily as people prefer to think practically. The media has become an important tool of statecraft in the modern era.
It is the ‘fourth estate’ which helps the state to further its interests, objectives and goals. Therefore, the media acts as an influential and instrumental tool with regards to building confidence or promoting mistrust among people on issues related to national security. After seeing all the research and analytical studies it can be concluded that the primary responsibility of the Media thus is of creating an informed citizenry in order to empower society and strengthen democracy and along with this it should also play an active role in enhancing social, religious and communal harmony for the betterment of the community, the society, the nation and the entire humanity as a whole.
The Media can play up or down the news and its significance, foster and feed emotions, create complacent fictions and blind spots, misuse the great words, and uphold empty slogans. Its scope and powers are increasing every day as new instruments can spread lies faster and farther than our forefathers dreamed of. Media has an important and indispensable role in strengthening communal harmony in India of the twenty-first century. To ensure inclusive growth on all fronts and for all sections of our society, communal harmony, national integration and peaceful co-existence is the mantra. The peace and tranquillity that emanates from communal harmony are conducive for socio-economic growth and development. It fosters a sense of belongingness & concern for each other among masses. If the media realizes in a real way its responsibility in building up communal harmony; whether it is the national media or the international media, it has to be built up.”
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