(Online Course) Contemporary Issues for IAS Mains 2012: Yojana Magazine – Changing Media & Its Role in Economic and Social Development

Yojana Magazine

Entertainment Industry  – Changing Media & Its Role in
Economic and Social Development

Q. Role of Media in Economic & Social Development.

Answer: Indian media- private media in particular –
has been free and independent throughout most of its history. The three year
period of emergency declared by late former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was
the time when India’s media was faced with potential government retribution.

Things have changed drastically since then. Media, the fourth
pillar has become a commercial tool to make money, earn huge profits and
influence people and government. The hard truth about Indian journalism
currently is that proprietors matter, editors do not; money counts, talent does

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The media industry in India is growing in leaps and bounds.
It has gathered an unbelievable momentum and the credit goes to all the pillars
– media, advertising, public relations, corporate communications, etc.

For a news media that is often in pursuit of the lowest
common denominator of audience taste, the Radia tapes offered a story that had
sensation in abundant measure. The story has been consigned to a black hole of
neglect. The news media has increasingly been seen as a stenographer to power
and an instrument for harnessing every form of dissent to dominant structures.
The Radia tapes show that it has been actually engaged in a more sordid
enterprise than stenography – it has been an active and eager participant in the
abuse of power. Of late, media is focusing more into sensation. It’s all about
hype, circulation figures and TRP game. There is perception between journalists
that negative sells at least in India. Is the media responsible for swine flu
panic in India two years back?

Consider this. In June, TV channels started creating panic by
airing that in next two days the water level of the Yamuna River in Delhi was
going to increase, as water was being released from the Hathni Kund barrage in

The water level of Yamuna had increased from 50 thousand to 1
lakh cusec. They did not say that upto 3 lakh cusec, is considered normal. Then,
thewater level came down to 26 thousand cusec. But a few channels continued
creating panic. A day later, another channel claimed the water released from
Hathni Kund barrage of the Yamuna in Haryana was about to enter Delhi even as
the water level of the HK barrage was down to 18 thousand cusec. Some channels
even used video clips of a breach in a canal named Dadu Pur Nalvi to hype their

On the other hand, millions of rural and urban Indians do not
have decent sanitation and Ethics and business do have a turbulent liaison for
quite some time. In the last two decades, the Indian economy has recorded an
incredible and dependable growth, which has brought it to considerable global
attention. As India is the second largest world economy and growing rapidly just
behind China, the businessmedia is getting stronger in the current economic
system. Even, business news channels have influence from different vested
interest groups and there is rivalry between these channels for TRPs.

Like never before, the manner in which we communicate is in a
state of change. The Internet has boomed, busted, and re-emerged with
technologies and practices that are enabling new conversations that can start
locally, and have a global impact. This fundamental shift has created a new
landscape of influences and an entirely new ecosystem for supporting the
dissemination of information. Monologue has given way to dialogue and in this
new social media era of Facebook, Twitter and Google, consumers are in control.
People react over these portals in the speed of light and it is almost
impossible to predict the reactions.

This is high time when media should focus and act as a
catalyst on economic and social development of the nation rather than
circulation, TRP, hype and sensational. It should focus more to reach the mass
by taking the opinions from them on critical and important issues. The system
has started, but needs to be aggravated on a larger scale. If media becomes a
catalyst and acts as a real watchdog, then there is no requirement of a Lokpal
Bill. Though appointing a regulator for the sector would be highly
counterproductive, yet the media itself should shoulder the responsibility of
maintaining its high standards of objectivity and simultaneously extend
constructive criticism to the Government. Rather, media should develop a concept
of having an issue dedicated to good news. Once in a while, it is a pleasant
change to be acquainted with what is going right. All the stories
should be positive, encouraging and full of hope. And very importantly, the
stories should inspire. Even small efforts and innovations can snowball into
larger initiatives. Media has a larger role to play in India’s social and
economic development as in India, the progress of social-economic development
among major states is not uniform.

Development is a multi-dimensional phenomenon. Some of the
major dimensions include:
the level of economic growth, level of education,
level of health services, degree of modernization, status of women, level of
nutrition, distribution of goods and services and access to communication

Media and socio-economic development are like two sides of a
coin. The role of media is to evaluate the degree of percolation throughout the

Social media does play a role in taking India forward. Media
helps in broadcasting things which we are unaware of. There is technology, and
other advancements in trends. It can be a great way for progress which will help
India grow in terms of learning, entertainment and employment opportunities.

Media does play an important role in bringing together the
ethical values in us. Most of us watch television everyday and we learn things
by watching it. In India, media plays an important role in affecting the mindset
of the people. People watch television and they tend to adapt many things which
they see on television. If this is used for beneficial purpose, it could bring
positive changes in the people and thereby on the social system. Media is
responsible for the coverage of India’s growth in all aspects. It tells about
the economic growth, local development, latest projects and government
involvement all what is possible. The role of media cannot therefore be denied
in the growth of the nation.

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