In a wave of complete positivity, one can identify the different provisions sanctified by the Constitution of India regarding the freedom of speech and expression, the free press, independent and separate of the governing bodies of the country. With investments in the private sector, increasing by the day, media corporations throughout the country seem to be on a rampage of amusing the masses with different experiments in social media.
Doordarshan and AIR (All India Radio) were one of the first established corporations to report to the people of India under Indian rule. These two corporations and their early projects are assumed to mark the genesis of mass public opinion in India. Six decades later, one would be baffled with a question of a rather fundamental nature. The question seems to be rather simple and the answer lies in the question itself but inferences drawn would surely be based on a matrix of assumptions and subjective analysis of the political culture, the nature of opinion and the extent of understanding and ignorance, both at the same time.
Media corporations in India, cater to a large population of 1.2 billion people, irrespective of caste, creed and class. Their mottos seem to be more misleading than comforting and with feelings of nationalism, patriotism and inter organizational power struggles, the sense of agreement is uneven and the truth seems to have evolved into different species rather than being a singularity. As per the understanding of the common man, the job of any news and/or media corporation is to report without bias. It is merely to present to the masses of the country the factual matrix of political and social issues. The hay day of editorials and political analysts was brief and had a lasting impact on the Indian educated class. Editorial sections such as ‘The Times of Ideas’ provided the masses with food for thought. All said and done, the Indian media has been quite successful in presenting to its audience, a different perspective of looking at events that took place in the political and social sphere. Yet, it would be quite naïve of a sceptic to dismiss the possibility of the existence of invisible alliances between ruling parties and media corporations.
The controversial nature of perspective and directives given by the media to not only the people of India but to the world can be re-enforced by specific examples that reverberate through the history of political and social events. The Invasion of Afghanistan, the identity of an individual practicing Islam, the essence of Islam itself post the twin tower attacks are landmark examples of how the media could influence educated individuals throughout the world. While the factual matrices and the exact chain of inferences drawn from Saddam Hussein’s involvement in the production and stock piling of the weapons of mass destruction are rather controversial and unclear, a wave of public opinion seems to be anti – Saddam without understanding and analysing the different versions of the truth as presented by the media. Since the argument is country specific, there is yet another picture that has been painted by the Indian media, which effuses negativity, violence and hatred. But all is not in vein, the media re-enforced public sentiments of disgust and opposition with respect to the Nirbhaya rape case, the Supreme court writ petition ‘Epicus Curie’ issued against the infamous engineer of the terrorist attack on the Indian parliament Afzal Guru and the involvement of a Member of Parliament in the Common Wealth Games scam. It seems as though the agenda of media corporations changes according to the winds of national interest and mass public opinion and yet fluid in its modus operendi to politically engineer conflicts. The gloomy environment and barbaric appearance of the Indian political arena and the negative identity of the Indian politician appears to be a recurring motif in the history of social media in the past twenty years. This motif has been the driving force for many social scientists to re-consider the dynamics of media in the political arena and analyse the downfall of reasonable political opinion. This downfall has also provided upcoming media corporations to perform and make their mark. It is evident that the trade of presenting facts and figures to the masses at large has become an ordinary business model as opposed to the bank of truth that one can call it.
This brings us to discussing the influence of a business-oriented media on the masses of the country. One could immediately infer that the results of such an influence could be disastrous to the calibre of thought that many young individuals like me aspire to achieve. Having said that, the argument could be countered by saying that the disastrous influence of media on the masses of the country is itself an elitist idea. This analysis or any piece of expressive analysis on the same lines surely does not focus on how the Indian media has empowered individuals at the grassroots of the country. Keeping aside the results of media attention given to farmers that committed suicide with due to the lack of rain, and development with regard to irrigation and the strict guidelines of banks offering loans to farmers, it has given the issue the importance it deserves. It has informed and influenced people in metropolitans, Non governmental organizations and even the governments. The media, in a way has held the government at ransom for their ignorance to deal with grave issues such as these. About four years ago, The NDTV News Corporation telecasted national recognition and achievement awards featuring the big wigs of the Indian intellectual class, social workers and personalities who had achieved excellence in a diverse range of fields, which inspired me as an individual.
All in all, the Indian media seems to be a network of contradictions, a sail that changes direction with the winds of national interest and mass public opinion and a salad of truth and lies. It can be said that on one hand, the Indian media has been responsible to fill the minds of the people with faulty ideas of prejudice, hatred and intergroup conflict, while on the other, it has been seen to empower the grassroots of the country, that were otherwise oblivious to the fact that there could be light at the end of the tunnel, and that all commotion collectively was falling on deaf ears. Metaphorically speaking, it has an inspired the son of a farmer to appear for the UPSC exams to aspire to rise up the ranks of the social hierarchy to become someone who can change things and change them for the good and it has also triggered a chain of thoughts that could help the educated class to come to terms with the fact that truth presented through any medium has to be examined against all its components and an informed decision has to be made regarding social and political issues.