By Akshay Arambam
The whole scenario of news in the present world is completely different from what it used to be. Any incident or news comes with a political motive. Important news are politicized to a great level for mere political gain and to score brownie points against each other. The blame game of the political parties becomes the main highlight and the real essence of the news takes the backseat. Today, no one knows the real story. The consumers are fed what the media wants them to know. We get different versions or opinions. Indian media is highly politicized. Taking sides, supporting the political agenda and not giving the real news have been the main aspects of Indian media in the present day.
We get different versions of a particular news depending upon which newspaper we subscribe to or which channels we watch. For instance, a pro-congress newspaper always highlights the positives of the party in front pages where the negatives are being hidden in the inside pages. One newspaper will go all the way to praise Congress with hidden motive and the other will fire all the cylinders against Congress to put forward BJP`s achievement. In the process, we fail to get the real news. Accordingly, our opinions are formed. More or less, we get highly influenced by media in every way in our decision making process. It is slightly off the topic but while talking about how the media influences the mass, the incident of “Panic Broadcast” comes into my mind. On the eve of Halloween in 1938, there was a broadcast of the radio edition of H.G. Wells` “War of the Worlds.” Radio programming was interrupted with a “news bulletin” for the first time. What the audience heard was that Martians had begun an invasion of Earth in a place called Grover`s Mill, New Jersey. About one million people in US actually believed it and there was a mass hysteria. This shows how much effect media has on people.
These days, turning on the news channels and watching the prime time programmes is no less than watching some drunkards shouting and howling at each other trying to take each other down. Each news channel already set its agenda and propagate the issue. There is never a fair discussion. You can always sense the favoritism towards one side. No one is given the chance to express their views or clarify their stand on certain issues. One who can outshout the other wins. No matter how baseless he or she can be. Even the anchor who is the moderator has his own views and projects them. This is actually not fair given the responsibilities of the media in this biggest democracy. The Aam Aadmi Party sensation which took the nation with storm caught the media radar quite early with its inception. It was all praise at the beginning. Then suddenly came the backlash after the media doubted Arvind Kejriwal`s governance. It was more when he stepped down as the CM of Delhi. I am not advertising my support for AAP here but the way media dealt with it was quite sad. Media indeed has the power to make one a hero and eventually create the downfall for him.
Indian media has become extremely politicized and it shows their irresponsibility. Media is considered the fourth estate. It should be neutral rather than taking sides. Media should not abuse its freedom and power by being biased. There should be a fair and free press. it is the biggest requirement in any democracy. Let us all pledge for a free, transparent and just media.
(Akshay Arambam is studying Mass Communication at Bangalore)