Monday, March 13, 2006

Mass Media and it's Repercussions

We have seen the role which mass Media plays on various issues. I don’t think any other medium has had such a profound impact or rather control on common man’s perception as Media. Although this has its own advantages but the disadvantages can’t be rules out too.

Robin Good has a powerful and convincing article on “Weaknesses and Limitations of Commercial Mainstream Media”.

Some of the powerful assertions he raises in this post are very true for our Indian Media.

Mass media are inherently corrupting. A small number of owners and editors exercise great power over what is communicated to large numbers of people. Mass media should be replaced by participatory media organised as networks, such as telephone and computer networks.

Strategies to supersede mass media include:
a) changing one's own media consumption patterns, b) participating in alternative media and c) using nonviolent action against traditional mass media.

Complaints about the mass media are commonplace.

To begin, there is the low quality of many of the programmes and articles. There is the regular portrayal of violence, given an attention out of proportion with its frequency in everyday life. More generally, most of the mass media give much more attention to crime, deaths, disasters, wars and strife than to harmonious communities, acts of kindness and win-win conflict resolution.

The mass media frequently create unrealistic fears about criminals, foreign peoples and mass protest.

"News" often is more like entertainment than information or education. News reports, especially on television, are typically given without much overt context. The latest events are described, but there is no explanation of what led up to them or caused them.

Consumers of the media consequently hear a lot of facts but frequently don't understand how they fit together. "Context" is the result of the assumptions behind the facts, and this context is all the more powerful because it is neither stated nor discussed.

Even the "facts" that are presented are often wrong or misleading.

Advertisers influence what types of stories are presented.

The problem is not with media in general, but with mass media, namely those media that are produced by relatively few people compared to the number who receive them. Most large newspapers, television and radio stations fit this description.

Mass media by their nature give power to a few and offer little scope for participation by the vast majority.

Can't agree with him more on this .....


Atul said...

Very true Ajit ..

Also, mass media can at times tend to give too much emphasis on "Hero Worship" especially in a society like ours. The emergence of Wikipedia, Blogs, Podcasting .. cheap radio station by Raghav etc. are all steps in the same direction and hopefully will restore the balance

economic democracy (freedom to buy/sell/produce) should also be accompanies by freedom to express/listen from a wide range of views

Anonymous said...

really thought provoking...

and one sad thing is that, sometimes the viewers
(or readers) are left with no choice but to read and see news of zero national importance...its kind of forced upon them and one of the 'top stories' that NDTV was 'tracking' one day was the divorce case of Karisma Kapoor... at one point it was so annoying that i had to shut my tv cos all the channels were playing it over and over...
freedom of press aka perils of a viewer.

but the new trend of 'Citizen Journalism' is a welcome move... and i hope it can bring in some sense of equity and "equanimity" as well :)