Mass Communication Effects on Indian Society

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Our world today is increasingly driven by a mass media due to the explosion of different means of communication, especially electronic communication such as satellite TV and Internet. The media is viewed as a source of power that influences, controls, and promotes new standards in the society and reinforces the existing ones. As the media increases in use as our prime source for information and values, there is a great need to critically evaluate inherent socio-political and cultural barriers. This study is conducted to identify inherent socio-political and cultural barriers for mass media impact on Indian society. The study will help to understand the inherent barriers involved in mass media impact through conceptual or qualitative reasoning.

Key words: Mass media, barriers, Indian, impact, mass communication


The growth of media as an industry has accelerated over the past few years with new forms such as DVD and the internet changing the way we, the audience, consume and receive media. In an interdependent and globalized political world, the challenge of the media is to provide extensive coverage of global politics and to examine the impact of these influences in specific national contexts (Mazzoleni, 2003). The mass media has a role to influence socio-political and cultural settings. Numbers of researchers have been conducting studies worldwide to investigate what they might contribute to an understanding of the economic and other factors that influence mass media, and how the media in turn influence the political climate and the democratic process in modern democracies (Alexander and Hanson, 1999, Zillmann, 2002, Bennett and Entman, 2001). Mass media is considered one of the principal agents for societal development, democracy and good governance. Media critics claim that at times mass media has not played the role that it should have played and have played in the hands of few vested interest (Kellner 2004; Fog, 2004). The researchers have also pointed out that mass media influence vary from country to country depending upon socio-political and cultural settings. There are many different theories about how mass media influence people's attitudes, worldview, and behavior (Bandura, 2001, McCombs and Reynolds 2002). The mass media is considered to be the backbone of democracy that influences sociopolitical developments (Wolfsfeld, 1997, 2004). However, there is a growing concern that the mass media in many countries is not fulfilling these functions properly due to inherent socio-cultural barriers (Kellner, 2004, Grisprud, 2002, McQuail, 2003). This paper identifies number of barriers that exist in Indian environment which hinders the impact of mass media on Indian society.


Jurgen Habermas (1989, 1996) in his sociological theory explains that the mass media is controlled by political and economic forces to manipulate the audience. He argues that this compromises the legitimacy of the communicative power exercised by the mass media. However, the German political scientists Peter Klier (1990) does not agree with Jurgen's theory. Another researcher Luhmann describes the mass media as a self-referential and self-maintaining (autopoietic), almost autonomous system (Luhmann 2000). Few other researchers such as Fog (1999), Doyle (2002) explain how mass media uses cultural selection theory to bring social change. The discipline of evolutionary economics applies selection theory to socioeconomic systems (Saviotti 2003). Cross-cultural comparisons show that the structure of the mass media may have a strong effect on political developments (Gunther and Mughan 2000) and the mass media are influenced by many factors such as; overall editorial policy of a medium, economic and cultural factors. The new technology innovations are further adding the factor of influence of media. However, media critics argue that mass media is not able to function the way it should due to...
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