The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.Malcolm X
The first seed of Indian media was laid down back in the 18th century. During the freedom struggle of India, news and media was not just the source of information, but it shaped the thoughts and actions of the masses. It linked our countrymen. So, it is safe enough to say that Media has played a vital role in shaping the history of this great country. India, as we used to write in our school essays, is a Great Country. But what makes a country Great? It’s citizens? It’s culture? It’s achievements? It’s Leaders? It’s History? History Indeed. Every day that goes by, India is adding another page in history books. And every morning in the leaves of a newspaper we are actually reading the new history of India. Every headline is shaping the mindset of the masses, the history of the country. That’s media for you, the conveyor of a great country.
Media is not a Political party in power, Media is not a Gangster, Media is not a Rich businessman, so what gives it so much power? The Constitution of India enlists some Fundamental Rights to it’s citizens, one such right is the Right to Freedom of Expression and that empowers Media. A common man said, With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility. This very much applies to the Media of a democracy as it holds the power to stir the nation. The role of Media is not just hanging an ID, posing with a mic in hand in front of a camera, and blurting out words that may or may not be true. The role of Media is to inform, criticize, and stimulate debate. Hence, it holds the responsibility to get its facts right first.
But the recent headlines and debates in the Media makes me wonder if Media is using its power or exploiting it. If Media ethics still weighs more than TRP. The drive is not in presenting spicy news, it’s about the correct news, the correct way to present News. Criticism is a very important factor in a democracy, and the Indian media has also been a subject to criticism over the years. But when criticism turns into sheer discontent and disappointment, somewhere something is not right. And owing to the current situation the credibility of Indian Media is in question as hashtags like #toxicIndianMedia and #ShameOnIndianMedia are trending on social media platforms.
In a country were we talk so much about culture and sacraments, the death of a man took to headlines on and after 14th June, 2020. Where his death should have steered awareness against suicide, it was mocked in flashy headlines which read “Patna ka Sushant Mumbai me fail kyun?”; “Film ka Dhoni asal zindagi me out kaise?; “Aise kaise hit wicket ho gaye Sushant? ” Pictures of his dead body were also circulated on social media. “Demeaning” the tragic loss of the deceased Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
Where many people came up to campaign about the importance of mental health, the whole idea has been dumped when it comes to targeting Rhea Chakroborty and her family. The actress was in a relationship with Late Sushant Singh Rajput, so she is being investigated and interrogated. But even before the Police, CBI or NCB could gather proof against her media trials have slaughtered her image in every way they can. Where important topics such as GDP, India’s strife with China, and Covis-19 should be discussed, news rooms organised debates on topics like, “Rhea ki hogi Giraftari?” and “Shushant par Rhea ka kala jadu“. I wonder where the correct news is. I wonder if media trails are enough to put a person behind bars. I wonder if the Law and Order of the country is so feeble that a person who has not been proven guilty yet is been harassed in media. I wonder if the Freedom of expression still stands valid if the sanity of a person and her family is being crucified.
Moreover, Rhea Chakraborty was hounded by hundreds of cameras and mics on her way to the NCB office. I wonder where the basic sensitivity to respect a woman’s boundary is lost. I wonder where the quest for truth is lost and I wonder if Indian Media is HIGH on the DRUG of TRP so much so that they have forgotten their roles and responsibilities.
Look what the PM says
“Our newspapers and magazines should have a global reputation…Indian institutions should give literary awards like they are given in different parts of the world. This is the need of the hour and necessary for the country……World listens to India more carefully now. In such a situation, Indian media also needs to be global,” says PM Narendra Modi. He also applauded media’s role in spreading awareness during various campaigns like ‘Swachh Bharat’ mission and ‘Ujjwala‘ sceme. He also praised the media for its role in shaping the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ mission.
In a country where the PM took the responsibility to highlight the positive facets of media, the least Indian Media could do is adapt proper ways to spread the right news to the citizens instead of shouting vague statements and hurling vague accusations. Although many young journalists have expressed their views against the conduct of media, we do not know what the future has in store. But as a responsible and aware citizen of a Great Country like India, it is our responsibility to differentiate between News and vague statements.