What is Media: “Media” is the plural form of the word “Medium”. Medium is a means by which something is expressed or communicated. Everything in this world, be it air, water, sound, light etc requires a medium for propagation. “Media” is a generalised term. However we will restrict ourselves to “Media” as a means of communication, as it is referred to in the broader sense.
Common perception about media: It is accepted that, for communication of any news or information, a medium is necessary. Various methods of communication include the print, audio-visual, internet, and the most popular one nowadays which is the social media.
Down the memory lane: Right since time immemorial, a need has always been there for dissemination of information. In the ancient ages, the kings used to have announcers who used to roam around the streets of the kingdom beating drums and communicating the king’s message to the common man by way of public announcements. The print media too was in use at that time as information was passed on from generation to generation by writings on palm leaves etc. The invention of paper has been a boon to the industry. In the olden days, intercontinental messages were sent through the medium of pigeons. Even human couriers were put to use in those days. The “Marathon” race in the Olympic Games owes its existence to one such human courier who ran from a war field in Marathon, Greece to Athens to communicate the news of victory in the war. This was one of the earliest examples of media transmission.
Media in the medieval period: Over the years these methods of communication witnessed several improvements. Man has always been striving to achieve perfection in all fields. This has resulted in various inventions such as electricity, telephone, radio and television to name a few. The advent of printing technology saw the mushrooming of newspapers as an effective medium of communication. Thus the names “Print media”, “Audio-visual media” etc were coined for the individual means of communication.
The present status of Media: The use of radio, television and newspapers etc has brought the world that much closer. Media has gained so much importance that this type of journalism is now commonly referred to as the “Fourth Estate”. With the ever improving technology, today we have reached the age of the internet. Internet technology brings with it its own advantages. One such plus point of the internet is the growth of a new kind of “media” known as the “Social Media”. This media propagates information through messages on the social platform through sites such as “Facebook”, “Twitter” etc. In fact this medium has become so prevalent today that it is referred to as the “Fifth Estate”. This medium has totally shrunk the world as information can be relayed instantaneously. The number of users on Facebook are such that if put together, they qualify to be the third most populous nation in the world and definitely the most connected.
Power and the responsibilities that come along with it: Media has tremendous power. It can make or break a nation’s reputation in a fraction of a second. Power brings responsibilities with it. A responsible media is one which uses its power judiciously. It is rightly said that anything is excess is bad. This applies to media coverage too. Excessive reporting of any news item has a detrimental effect. The media should know where to draw the line and should strictly abide by it.
A responsible media is an asset to the Government. It can act as an effective bridge between the Government and the public. The media can act as a responsible educational tool for the nation. The advantages of media far outnumber their disadvantages. Last but not the least One should remember that “The pen is mightier than the sword”.