An hour after twelve, my mother tuned in the TV to watch some news. What we saw was abominable— Mr. Earthquake had paid yet another visit to the abode of Nepal after seventeen days of chaos. The stats had already begun to flow in—the magnitude of the earthquake, its duration, people’s stimuli, everything brought to us just minutes after the tremor. Soon, we’d know how much Mr. Earthquake has messed around this time. Nonetheless, media today is so fast that I wondered if it is giving a chase to speed of light.
We hear the word ‘Media’ too often to know it is a collective noun with all the newspapers, magazines, televisions, radios and whatnot in its basket. All the news, match scores, new TV shows, daily soaps, the latest fad, or what happened in the parliament—be it our own or Britain’s—everything is delivered right to our senses by media. Media is something our world is built on.
It is obvious that the momentous media plays a crucial role in our society. It moulds people’s perspective. The media first began as a means to enlighten people about crucial happenings through newspapers, magazines and radio—it is still its major concern. It also acts as a platform to educate the masses and generate public awareness about a gazillion matters, like evils of smoking and the notorious corruption. Or it can be a public announcement of a calamity like the one I encountered today.
In most democracies, existence of freedom of media has brought about a revolutionary change. Media is entitled with the supreme job of the watchdog of the government. We often see news reporters and journalists scrutinizing the government over its actions and policies. Citizens form their opinions about a certain policy or party the way media portrays it. Freedom of media turns out to be an indicator of a good democracy.
No one comprehends the power of media like the business entities do. The commercial sector derives its profit from advertising its products and views through media. They’re masters in the profession of hypnotizing people. The more eye-catching the commercial is, the more people would purchase the product. Just a 10- second commercial costs in lakhs. Media, it seems, is pretty much loaded.
Lastly, media provides the best form of entertainment in our times. We can watch movies, reality shows, sports, educational channels or survival techniques even under a tree in the remote Amazon forest at ten-past-midnight.
Every coin has two faces— so does our marvelous media. Flip the coin and you’ll see evident disadvantages of media, its benefits not vast enough to cover the stains. Firstly, media is infamous for intervention in almost everything. It is quite creative too— its ability to twist and turn anything useless into something dramatically noticeable is very appreciable. There is a constant rat race in this sector to be the best and acquire maximum profit. The common man watching this marathon is perplexed about which hoax to believe.
It is the tendency of people to absorb everything the media reflects or portrays as true or acceptable. Deluding people, especially the youth, to the wrong lane is yet another flaw of media.
No matter how much tantrums you throw, your mother always loves you, right? Likewise, though there is no shortage of faults to be found in media, it is something the world cannot function without. In absence of media, an epidemic of chaos and boredom would spurt leaving everyone anxiousness and melancholic. If one fine day all your TVs, phones and newspapers are set on a long excursion to Neptune, kidnapping everyone associated with multimedia with them, wouldn’t you be envious of Neptune? Maybe I’m exaggerating. But what if you have a friend in Nepal and you have no means to know their whereabouts? What if you don’t even know what has happened there? I cannot fathom the consequences. Now it’s time we acknowledge media as both a friend and foe. If media finally recognizes that its sincerity is greater than its greed, it’ll be an unbreakable force binding the society, the nation.
(Navami Shenoy is the First prize winner of the 2nd Odisha Book Online Essay Competition. We publish the essay, contributed by Navami Shenoy,. Address: 105, Vishwas Kuteera, Kodialbail, Mangalore-575003, Karnataka. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)