Thursday, June 23, 2011

Two sides of the same coin

“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

Media has played a significant role in the birth of the modern world. Renaissance, reformation and revolutions would have never been successful without the advent of media and the world would have not been what it is today. It has played a vital role in awakening the masses to a dawn of enlightenment and liberated them from the bounds of ignorance and superstitious beliefs. It has encouraged mankind to be rational and not to accept anything blindly.

Media has always been the watchdog of the society. The Indian history is a great example of how press and radio mobilized the Indian masses and ultimately led them to independence. The power of media had infused fear in the British government and made them resort to repressive measures. However, there has been a severe criticism of media in contemporary times. Especially, one can never forget the negligent and thoughtless attitude of the media during the terrorist attack on Mumbai in November 2008. The minute by minute reporting not only caused panic among the masses but also gave the terrorists complete details about the scenario outside and also enabled them to target people.

In recent times, the media has tried its best to improve its image. This is evidently seen in the coverage of the ‘India against corruption’ movement initiated by Anna Hazare, a Gandhian and member of the civil-society. News channels across India covered this epoch-making event and communicated the ideas of the civil-society to the nation. It has brought the entire country on one platform irrespective of their class, caste and creed and has brought hope to the people that they will be delivered from the dark age of corruption. The social media was also remarkably responsible for uniting the country to support Anna Hazare and his cause. Twitter and Facebook buzz with opinions and comments. Both young and old became part of this agitation. There were interviews and debates. Search engines continuously churned out details to people about who is Anna Hazare? Who is civil-society? What is Lokpal Bill? It was a mass awakening which empowered people to demonstrate their unity in the fight against corruption. Anna Hazare in an interview with Sreenivasan Jain, managing editor of NDTV, himself said that Sms, Internet and media helped to spread this agitation from cities to villages, it was not possible for a simple man like him to strengthen the movement.

There is no doubt the media has done an extremely good job, but it would be simply more sensitive and credible if the media paid attention to Swami Nigamanand as well, a 35-year old sadhu who died fasting to save the ganga from the illegal stone quarrying and mining happening along its stretch. May be he would have been alive today if the media would have been his voice as well. May be … the media needs to look more deep and listen to voices which want to be heard.

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