(Online Course) Contemporary Issues for IAS Mains 2012: Yojana Magazine - Changing Media & Its Role in Economic and Social Development

Yojana Magazine

Entertainment Industry  - Changing Media & Its Role in Economic and Social Development

Q. Role of Media in Economic & Social Development.

Answer: Indian media- private media in particular - has been free and independent throughout most of its history. The three year period of emergency declared by late former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was the time when India’s media was faced with potential government retribution.

Things have changed drastically since then. Media, the fourth pillar has become a commercial tool to make money, earn huge profits and influence people and government. The hard truth about Indian journalism currently is that proprietors matter, editors do not; money counts, talent does not.

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The media industry in India is growing in leaps and bounds. It has gathered an unbelievable momentum and the credit goes to all the pillars – media, advertising, public relations, corporate communications, etc.

For a news media that is often in pursuit of the lowest common denominator of audience taste, the Radia tapes offered a story that had sensation in abundant measure. The story has been consigned to a black hole of neglect. The news media has increasingly been seen as a stenographer to power and an instrument for harnessing every form of dissent to dominant structures. The Radia tapes show that it has been actually engaged in a more sordid enterprise than stenography – it has been an active and eager participant in the abuse of power. Of late, media is focusing more into sensation. It’s all about hype, circulation figures and TRP game. There is perception between journalists that negative sells at least in India. Is the media responsible for swine flu panic in India two years back?

Consider this. In June, TV channels started creating panic by airing that in next two days the water level of the Yamuna River in Delhi was going to increase, as water was being released from the Hathni Kund barrage in Haryana.

The water level of Yamuna had increased from 50 thousand to 1 lakh cusec. They did not say that upto 3 lakh cusec, is considered normal. Then, thewater level came down to 26 thousand cusec. But a few channels continued creating panic. A day later, another channel claimed the water released from Hathni Kund barrage of the Yamuna in Haryana was about to enter Delhi even as the water level of the HK barrage was down to 18 thousand cusec. Some channels even used video clips of a breach in a canal named Dadu Pur Nalvi to hype their story.

On the other hand, millions of rural and urban Indians do not have decent sanitation and Ethics and business do have a turbulent liaison for quite some time. In the last two decades, the Indian economy has recorded an incredible and dependable growth, which has brought it to considerable global attention. As India is the second largest world economy and growing rapidly just behind China, the businessmedia is getting stronger in the current economic system. Even, business news channels have influence from different vested interest groups and there is rivalry between these channels for TRPs.

Like never before, the manner in which we communicate is in a state of change. The Internet has boomed, busted, and re-emerged with technologies and practices that are enabling new conversations that can start locally, and have a global impact. This fundamental shift has created a new landscape of influences and an entirely new ecosystem for supporting the dissemination of information. Monologue has given way to dialogue and in this new social media era of Facebook, Twitter and Google, consumers are in control. People react over these portals in the speed of light and it is almost impossible to predict the reactions.

This is high time when media should focus and act as a catalyst on economic and social development of the nation rather than circulation, TRP, hype and sensational. It should focus more to reach the mass by taking the opinions from them on critical and important issues. The system has started, but needs to be aggravated on a larger scale. If media becomes a catalyst and acts as a real watchdog, then there is no requirement of a Lokpal Bill. Though appointing a regulator for the sector would be highly counterproductive, yet the media itself should shoulder the responsibility of maintaining its high standards of objectivity and simultaneously extend constructive criticism to the Government. Rather, media should develop a concept of having an issue dedicated to good news. Once in a while, it is a pleasant change to be acquainted with what is going right. All the stories
should be positive, encouraging and full of hope. And very importantly, the stories should inspire. Even small efforts and innovations can snowball into larger initiatives. Media has a larger role to play in India’s social and economic development as in India, the progress of social-economic development among major states is not uniform.

Development is a multi-dimensional phenomenon. Some of the major dimensions include: the level of economic growth, level of education, level of health services, degree of modernization, status of women, level of nutrition, distribution of goods and services and access to communication

Media and socio-economic development are like two sides of a coin. The role of media is to evaluate the degree of percolation throughout the community.

Social media does play a role in taking India forward. Media helps in broadcasting things which we are unaware of. There is technology, and other advancements in trends. It can be a great way for progress which will help India grow in terms of learning, entertainment and employment opportunities.

Media does play an important role in bringing together the ethical values in us. Most of us watch television everyday and we learn things by watching it. In India, media plays an important role in affecting the mindset of the people. People watch television and they tend to adapt many things which they see on television. If this is used for beneficial purpose, it could bring positive changes in the people and thereby on the social system. Media is responsible for the coverage of India’s growth in all aspects. It tells about the economic growth, local development, latest projects and government involvement all what is possible. The role of media cannot therefore be denied in the growth of the nation.

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