Dialogue July-September, 2010, Volume 12 No.1
Role of Media in Contemporary India
Media is a Powerful institution which transmits the knowledge and Information. Channels of Communication and transmission are many, Therefore the nature, structure, stature, working process and levels of media are manifold and many-numbered in form, content, effect, impact and character .The purposes are also many and they differ with each other.
The mythologies, mythological texts, recitation of holy texts, Ram-Lila and Krishna-Lila, kirtans, classical forms of dance, music, drama, storytelling, folk-lore, religious preaching, spiritual teachings and practices-all are different forms of media transmitting the knowledge, message and information.
If we fix the usage of the term-media- to news magazines and news channels only, even then its scope is wide and not limited to the political and sensational news only. There are religious and spiritual magazines, news-bulletins, periodicals and electronic channels containing spiritual knowledge, religious teachings, art of living, meditation, consciousness development, acquiring the knowledge about cosmos, world, creation, life-forms, life-cycle, rebirth, death and the mysteries of the phenomenon. They all are different forms and channels of media. Therefore usage of the word 'media' should not be restricted to commercially popularrised daily news-papers, bulletins and some popularized electronic channels only. This is true that these get protection by those in power, but to call only them-the media is not fair.
The so called mainstream media has plays limited role in Indian politics, Indian psyche and Indian social institutions as well as the behavior-pattern of Indian people. There are some examples of this fact:-
1. During freedom-struggle, all the so called mainstream media i.e. all the major newspapers - The Times of India-etc. were pro-British. We forced British to quit India inspite of the support of the media to them. That the quitting of India by the British was influenced by the emergence of nationalism in Indian Army along with other forces was not highlighted.
2. In post-Independence era, all the so-called national news-papers blacked out the cow protection-movement but in November 1966 about 1 lac (one hundred thousand) Holy people of Hindu society gathered in front of Indian Parliament and the government was shaken by the support.
3. All the major newspapers played down the anti-congress movement launched by Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia during 1965-1967 but even then that movement succeeded in 1967.
4. During the J.P Movement (total revolution movement), no major newspaper gave prominence to the voice of Indian people but the movement succeeded and there was a regime change.
5. During shri Ramjanmabhumi movement, almost all big news-papers barring daily Jagaran, maligned it, but significant numbers participated in it. Almost all Channels and newspapers condemned the demolition of babari structure but many in the Hindu society and Hindu psyche had no regret.
6. In U.P, no major news-paper gave any prominence to the evolution of BSP till 1995 (from 1980 to ‘95) but BSP emerged as a major political force.
7. No major newspaper or news-channels ever gave due prominence to the emergence of Naxalism from 1980 to 2004 (long 25 years) but it is a major factor of contemporary Indian reality.
8. Even today, no major Indian newspaper news channel is giving due publicity to China’s assertive preparations but it’s the eminantly emerging future-reality for it.
9. No due prominence is being given to the genocide launched by China in Tibet, but that is a major event in human-history.
10. Eighty percent of all scientific investments are being made in the field of warfare but it does not get prominence in Indian media.
11. The role of drug mafia, terrorist tycoons and the gangs of criminals in film-industry is not highlighted and the media plays it down.
12. The behavior-pattern of Indian Muslims and Indian Christians is being set and chanelised by the Muslim ulemas and millat and the Church respectively. They all declare their goal to transform whole India into a Muslim or Christian country controlled by the millat and the church. The ‘big’ media is shy to talk about the nature, texture, content, purpose and the result of these organized activities. All these continue in the name of secularism.
13. The constitution of India is the only constitution in the world which does not provide official legal protection to the dharma (Religion or world- view) of the majority of the country. All countries directly or indirectly acknowledge the prominence of the majority religion like Christian, Islam or Buddhism etc. Only India is an exception. But no media ever initiated any debate on this matter of national importance.
14. The so-called main-stream of Indian media ignores many national and International realities, like spiritual, cultural, religious and social evolution of the country. Major threats to the country, and the mainstream thinking, desires and ambitions of the Indian majority is ignored.
Thus defacto the so-called ‘mainstream media’ is weak. It is governed by greed, fear and desires of sale and profit. It indulges in sensationalisation and shows partisan attitude in political group rivalries. All right, they have a role in the democracy. Let them flourish as far as they can. But they have to connect themselves with the national majority psyche.
Here are some further example of their failures:
No Indian news-paper ever analysed the influence of the spiritual monthly magazine Kalyan, published by Gita Press, Gorakhpur, in almost every literate Hindu home. For more than 80 years, it propagated gospel of Hindu texts and kept alive in significant number of Hindu homes the spirit of resistance to colonial rulers and the church.
The monthly Akhand Jyoti of Gayatri-Parivar is being read in about 10 millions Hindu homes, changing their psyche and helping them in their spiritual evolution. Media, which is governed by market forces and not by the moral and ethical imperatives of the society, ignores it.
Thus the mainstream media is actually a minor player in the Indian society. They have no such real impact upon the society. It had no appeal to a larger majority.
|Dialogue A quarterly journal of Astha Bharati|