NECESSITY OF MEDIA EDUCATION
Ever since the media world has come into existence, new ways of its influences in its daily life has been seen. What was considered to be a boon has been realized to be a bane in many ways. The use of the media is often mired by controversy too. Here are a few quotes which makes us ponder about media’s role and its influences. These quotes were by famous people and perhaps signify how media has deviated from its intended path to another completely new one.
“Our job is to give people not what they want, but what we decide they ought to have.”Richard Salent, former president, CBS News.
“We live in a dirty and dangerous world. There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn’t. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets, and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows.”Katherine Graham, Washington Post publisher and CFR member. Thus we see that a similarity trend arises. People seem to interpret the use of media in their own ways, ways which will be of benefit to them. People with the power in their hands feel as if they are the authority to decide what to show and what not. When the press has an agenda, it is bound to be not wholly fair and just, as it was originally intended to be. Somewhere, down the line, human emotions, human wants, human intentions, greed, selfishness has come around to prohibit the working of a free press. Just as a utilitarian economy is a dream, a free just press is also nothing short of that.
The very essence of creating the press has been tarnished. As Hugo Black, Supreme court justice of The United States had rightly said:
“The Press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of the government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people.”
The media has failed to deliver in its promise of impartial reporting, unbiased writing and true delivery of facts to the public. In this scenario, believing in the facts of the Media and acting upon them can not only be hazardous but may be injustice to the one on whom the action is being taken. The influence of media on young minds are even the more so. This is because young minds are just getting to understand the world and how it functions. Young minds thus can be moulded more easily than adults who have formed more or less fixed opinions on a variety of issues, going by experiences, circumstances and need and wants.
Today’s world is as different from the yester years as chalk and cheese. The world today has hi-end products and a new definition of lifestyle. A consumer culture exists now which was unimaginable even a century ago. In this scenario comes the various forms of print – the digital, the print, the audio and the internet.
The internet and the television are the most influential among these. Both of these mediums not only gives us a plethora of knowledge but also enables us to see and visualise them. As the spread of the internet and the television medium reaches new heights, so are the malices of media influence too reaching mammoth proportions. Television channels and internet sites explode you with all sources and sorts of knowledge, which by its sheer quantity, makes you unable to grasp it.
The Influence of Media
Media influence started first in the West mainly because technological advancements in the world were first made there. In this regard, the western people have more experience than the East about media influence and their culture has been subject more to the whims of media influence than has the Indian society. Thus, if we look at the Western countries, we see clearly the marks left by media influence. There are authors like Jerry Mander who in his book ‘Four Arguments for The Elimination of Television’ have even said that the television is an evil which needs to be destroyed. It is no doubt seen that media forms especially television and internet produces devastating psychological effects on the minds of the people, especially those who are young.
It has been seen through many psychological studies that viewing too much of television effects thinking and behaviour at levels that even we may not know of. Slowly, as India advances, the problem of media influence is grappling us too.
In America, television has literally a huge effect on students and the youth. In fact, in some instances it is said that the first learning tool and curriculum for students is actually the television. That is their primary world from where they learn everything about the world, its ways, is morals and its ideals. Teaching, schooling and parents advices come next. The television as well as the internet has audio-visual instances which can keep the youth hooked and he does not feel them to be ‘preachings’ which he must follow, rather he thinks of them as a source of enjoyment and automatically the values and ideals in the television programmes become imbibed in his character. The problem here is that of the quality of the media sources and their contents. It is perfectly natural that television sources may not give the correct knowledge about places, people, history, economics, etc. Yet the youth and people get ‘influenced’ by what they see in the television or read in a newspaper and retain those thoughts and ideas, even if we do not at first subscribe to these ideas.
We inherently tend to have an ‘influenced spot’ in our brain of what has been told or seen by us through the media, though we may or may not believe it. This can be explained through a simple childish concept. When we were children, many of us didn’t believe in ghosts. Yet when any of our friends who believed in them, told us that ghosts existed and narrated ghost stories, we were afraid to go out in the dark for some time, even though we still believed ghosts didn’t exist. This was because though we did not believe in ghosts, somewhere or the other, an imprint of what ‘others’ said was implanted in our brain and we were influenced. Same way, people are influenced by the ‘others’ who are the different forms of media here. Palestina konflikten
New role models in fashion, eating, drinking, travelling – they all come up in our lives due to the influence of media. Media even shapes attitudes of ours in matters of relationships and sexuality. Thus in many ways, media tells us ‘How to look at the world’ rather than ‘This is the World’. If this ‘How to look at the world’ is not right, then it can have catastrophic consequences, not only for the individual but to the world at large. For example, if media teaches and advocates violence, youth of today may be influenced to commit violent acts. This would be detrimental not only to him but to the society at large. And if many youths follow suit, the stability of society itself would come under scrutiny.
Thus, we need to know how exactly should we tackle the problem? Though media is intended to give us news and information as well as provide us with entertainment and advertisement of products, today our world is centred across this media. And if there is no coinscience behind the running of this media, then it would be detrimental not only for our right to get the reality of things but for the society at large to live peacefully. Whatever the media dictates, contain values, beliefs, morals and ideals which are shaped up by the economic and political conditions of that time, and may not necessarily be correct.