Idea Of An Ideal Media
The news media everywhere is undergoing a profound change, particularly in the manner in which they carry out their mission. It is no longer committed to the mission it once professed: concern for the citizens, promoting public discussion, helping problem solving and reflecting the people’s aspirations. Total commercialisation has overtaken some sections of the media. Unable to cope with the pace of commercialization, they no longer contribute even to the development and strengthening of democracy. The first priority of every newspaper should be to encourage dialogue in communities, to present a faithful and accurate picture of the life of their readers and viewers. The test of a good story is how many of the total readers or viewers have noticed it and how they could recall details, not how well it is written or displayed or projected. Readers will read a story or viewers would pay attention to television presentation only if it concerns them. A citizen- based approach in reports is time-consuming and needs a lot of preparation and homework. Newspapers today are crammed with commercial information of inhouse activities of the rich and powerful, the social celebrities and the industrialists to the exclusion of people who matter: the ordinary citizens.
With the acceptance of globalization as a desirable goal, the Indian government has adopted global capitalism as the best means of regulating the nation’s economy. With the information revolution of the 1990’s, global communication has become instantaneous, even as people and goods can be transported around the world in hours. The media plays a crucial role in this swift change-over to a global economy. Most people watch television several hours a day, thus, control of television is often said to amount to control of most minds. It is certainly true that when there is no internal or foreign crisis, the media plays a major role in shaping the social outlook. Newspapers, on the other hand, have resorted to trivialisation of news in a big way, dispensing with serious studies of political, social and economic developments and even pruning news stories to their bones. Reports are localised and trivialised to the point of absurdity. Newspaper managements now look for managers who can make the press into a result-oriented enterprise.
A free and independent press is the prime requisite of a vibrant democracy. It is a good indicator of a liberal democracy that the press becomes a purveyor of information, knowledge and education for its readers. By its very nature a newspaper has to mould and lead public opinion. It thus plays a crucial role in society. It also has to protect the rights and guard the freedom of the people. For a newspaper to be credible, it has to place great emphasis on facts and present them objectively. It has to abide by the highest traditions and ethics of journalism as a profession. P K Ravindranath, in his book News Media Management has described all the aspects of the idea of ideal journalism. He has aptly described the evolution of the modern media. The impact of globalisation on media and also the commercialisation crept into the media has been dealt with complete alacrity. In a nutshell, this book is a good read and will help the students of journalism to excel in their profession.
By Nilabh Krishna