Media has positive impact on the society as long as it is free from political compulsion and the monetary perspective.
Media was encouraged by the governments to influence the public opinion. This influence was for the betterment of the country or for personal gains.
The media has ruled the masses for a quite longtime until its monopoly was destroyed by the social media. If not for social media, there was no looking back for media for it viscous run at the risk of destruction of the society and nation as a whole.
Some media outlets were started for pure nationalistic benefits like to encourage freedom struggle, economic development and democratic prosperity. But some media outlets owned by the rich and political figures were meant to garner personal gains in the form of power, wealth or fame without the regard for the suffering of the common man or the nation.
Below we will discuss the Media influence on society in both positive and negative ways.
I must have started with the positive impacts of media but instead I chose the negative impact because of widespread misuse of it since the past decade or more. The negative shades of it
- Control the democracy.
- Defamation of civilizations
- Investigative behavior in few crimes.
- Hiding the truth from the public
- Trying to expose the national defense secrets
- Threatening the public and public servants
- Working for pure financial gains
- Taking sides with the political parties
- Influencing the judiciary process
- Helping in religious conversions
- Instigating riot.
To control the democracy: Media is considered as one of the pillars of democracy, but this media always tries to control the democracy in some or other form. Interestingly, the media’s opinion is not bought by the people number of times. You could have noticed elections in the recent past where media tried to influence voters heavily against few candidates. But still the person against whom the media was rampant won the elections with thumping majorities.
Yet, media always tries to control the democracy. The rulers are afraid of the media and hence, to gain goodwill of the media personnel, the rulers try to provide advertisement revenue, travel subsidies, accommodation and other facilities to them.
Defamation: Media can easily defame a person in the name of freedom of speech. They can do it intentionally if the particular person is not liked by. They even try to threaten and blackmail the people concerned in order to come to terms with them.
The media can also damage civilizations by defaming and bring negative opinion in the minds of the people.
Investigative behavior: When there is crime, the media reports about the crime to the public. But sometimes they even go overboard. They try to investigate in spite of police or people approved by law are working on it. They do especially against few people who they hate. In doing so, they try to influence the police and other investigative agencies involved in the process.
Hiding the truth from the public: There are many instances of atrocities on people by the government, police, military etc. But, these are not made public by the media intentionally. In doing so, they are not honest to their profession but still they keep the trend due to ill conceived ideologies.
Expose the national defense secrets: When the media gather any of the national defense information, they try to publish to get higher viewership. Though it is harmful to the country as it is a leakage of defense secretes, still they do to just gain more money.
Media corruption: The media is also involved in rampant corruption. If not corruption, a journalist would not be very rich and leading a lavish style. They try to extract money and other favors by threatening the common or the public servants. In return, they try to hide the misdeeds of those who bribed them. So, media takes bribes to not publish sensitive information.
Working for financial gains: Media in the present scenario work purely for commercial gains. They are least concerned about moral ethics and nationalism. They try to achieve higher viewership and make more money through ads.
Taking sides with the political parties:
Once, the media owners or journalists gain some benefits from the governments belonging to a particular political party, they try to support that party. They blindly support whatever that party does without criticizing the harm involved.
Influencing the judiciary process: Media is also involved in influencing the judiciary to some extent. They organize debates, seminars on the issue or case and try to change the opinions of the judges.
Helping in religious conversions: Religion is a private issue and has to be practiced in the homes or place of worship. It is a private issue, but the media also tries to cover the religious lectures by taking money and help in conversion.
Instigating riots: Media is also responsible for many communal or racial conflicts. Without taking the issue to the government, they try to publish the issue to a large section of audience. Due to this more people get influenced leading to wide spread riots. The governments in power would not be able to relocate the police or military in time to the place of conflicts. This leads to widespread violence. Even you might have come across an issue of live telecast of terrorist attack and the police encounter. This gives the terrorist beforehand information to tackle the situation and exploit it better.
The positive effects of media on society
- Keeping people aware of the natural calamities before hand
- Encouraging the public for mass health drives
- Informing the public about the misdeeds of the governance.
- Preventing the spread of communal violence
- Protecting the public property
- Keeping the police and security aware about the threats and thefts
- Providing employment
- Bringing the beneficial programs of the government to the masses
Awareness of natural calamities: Media helps in keeping the people aware of the natural calamities beforehand. Because of media, governments can opt for mass evacuations of the people during the calamities like the cyclones, tornadoes, tsunamis, volcanoes etc. Without the media, such large scale actions would be hard to implement by the governments.
Mass health drives: Sometimes, governments go for mass health drives like the immunization against a disease, precautions in case of epidemic outbreaks etc. Media encourages the public for participation in those health drives
Keeps checks on the misdeeds of the governments: Those people in the government will have a tendency to misuse their power. The media keeps informing the public about their activities and helps to keep a check on their wrong doings.
Aborts communal violence: There are many instances where communal violence occur and media play an important role in controlling them by preventing their spread and informing the security personnel for better management.
Protecting the public property: Media can help protect the public and state’s properties. There can be few people who can occupy the government’s lands, buildings, forests if they are abandoned for longtime. Though the governments might not be using them, still they are the states property unless handover by the state to someone else. So, in many cases such encroachments are highlighted by media and help the state to take them back.
Keeping the police and security aware. Media can help in states security. They can keep the police personnel informed about the threats and thefts happening around and thus decrease the crimes.
Providing employment: Media employs many people around. This could be artists, technicians, engineers, scientists etc. Media industry is one of the huge sources of employment in the modern society.
Bringing the beneficial programs of the government to the masses: Governments very often take up some beneficial programs for the betterment of masses. This could be in the form of education, work, skill development based assistance. Media can help the masses to know about those programs and gain benefits from it.