Media studies always fascinated me as it was a less textual and more practical experience. The media can be classified broadly into four chronological ages: the ages of newspapers and place, magazines and class, broadcasting and mass, and the internet and space. The media in India has been free and independent throughout most of its history. India is one of those few countries where the media has existed for thousands of years. The Indian National Press was undisputedly the backbone of the freedom struggle for independence from colonial rule. National political struggle and advocacy of social reforms and emancipation in the years before independence contributed to creating the core strength of the press in free India.
In India, more than 1 lakh newspapers and magazines are currently published. And more than 17 thousand newspapers are published every day in different languages. Ten crore copies of them are printed every day. As a result, India is the largest newspaper market in the world.
The number of channels showing 24-hour news in India is more than 400. And these are also the highest in the world. With 518 million social media users (as per 2020 data), India is the second-largest market globally, behind China.
As Indians, we are constantly surrounded by various informational means every day. The media scenario of India in the last 75 years has undergone a sea change. The evolution is both on the positive and negative fronts.
A Few New Age Trends:
- The technological breakthrough in printing has brought about unforeseen structural changes in the setup of media. The developing communication services and transport facilities have also facilitated news reporting even from remote areas and made the distribution of news quite accessible.
- Today’s audience and readers have a wide variety of options to choose from with a click of the button.
-The growing presence of women in journalism has opened a new era for enhancing the socio-economic condition of women. And it resulted in the need for adequate representation of women in various sectors of the media.
- Today’s media, particularly national-level newspapers, are owned mainly by corporate houses. These owners, barring a few, are running newspapers intending to derive more commercial profits.
These newspapers frequently covertly lobby the interests of large corporate houses to obtain large sums of money for advertisements. And the issues and interests of the weaker segment of society are at times inappropriately projected. Serious national issues are not addressed properly.
- The emergence of big media houses and the corporatisation of the media is heading fast towards a monopoly in the media. The "paid news syndrome" is one of the major drawbacks of the Indian press. News is being presented in the editorial news sections, which are being planted to preach propaganda.
- Earlier, the editor used to control the contents of the newspaper, including the advertisements. However, today, the office of the editor has been marginalised and the editor has very little or no say about the contents of the newspaper. The manager or director in charge of advertising is the one who is most familiar with the media platform's content pattern and advertisement space.
- Last but not least, the boom of social media has given access to anyone and everyone to report an event with proper clarification of facts. Regulation of social media is still a big ask in today’s scenario.
In the words of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, "It is very important for the media to be partners in the national mission. Through nationwide consultations, they should highlight the positive aspects and provide solutions to difficult aspects.
The Indian Press has always been the torchbearer of society. The media has mostly risen to the situation whenever there is any national crisis. Even though there has been considerable corrosion of ethics over the decades since independence, the basic values adhered to by the Indian media, however, continue to inspire. This new era of journalism is rich with information. The need of the hour is abstemious introspection by the journalists and not losing the focus on the dominant duty of media to be the fourth estate without making any compromise.
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