MEDIA: ROLE AND INFLUENCE IN OUR LIVES
Living in a society with every moment something happening around us, there exists certain and extreme requirement of information about what is happening around us, how it is related to us and how is it going to affect us. The purpose is being served by media right from the beginning of civilization. However, it has and is changing its forms very rapidly and very broadly. Some of the most basic and major forms of media are daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, radio, internet, T.V., magazines etc. Media is a strong force in modern culture. In the last few decades the influence and roles of media has grown many folds covering almost whole world, with the ever growing technology, from telegrams to radio, from radio to newspaper, magazines, T.V. and now the mostly used, the internet. The power of media can be understood from the fact that any innocent man can be proved guilty and any culprit can be proved innocent. When it comes to influence of media nationality, caste, creed, age etc. do not matter. Media, for the society, has been a huge part, acting as a mirror and representing the society as a whole, reflecting every aspect about it. Educating, informing and entertaining being its duties and providing all information that is required is sufficient enough for an individual for his survival in the society. In the society we live, there is much dependency on media for doing what is right. All our day to day activities, including work, personal relationships, education, entertainment, health care, traveling and many more are dependent on media in a way or another. Most of the decisions we take and values and principles we follow are completely based on our knowledge of the fact that is dependent on our past experiences and some assumptions we make. In our routine life, we believe in media for current facts and news so as to what should be given importance and taken care of. We, in a way or other, trust the media with its news on entertainment, education and all the happenings around the globe (and beyond). The level of media saturation which is exists now, was not present before. In the recent past i.e. 4-5 decades ago, television had three networks primarily, public broadcasting, some local channels. These channels focused the telecasting mainly at middle‐class households. Even so, quite a number of middle‐class families did not even have a television. But in present times, we can find a T.V. in the families having even a very low income, and more than one TVs in most upper middle‐class homes. This does not only shows that the availability has increased and reach of media is expanding but also that shows and programmes are being made keeping in mind the requirements and choices of all classes of the society and all types of people. Some of the theories related to the influence of media in our lives which discuss some very interesting aspects are: The limited effects theory: it says that the influence of media is nearly negligible as people generally watch or read on the basis of what they already believe. The class dominant theory: it says that a minority elite class is the one which is reflected and projected by media. This basically deals with the fact that when the ownership of media is limited only few people can control over what others see or hear or read. The culturist theory which combines the above two and conveys that people generally create their own meanings out of the messages they receive when they interact with media. On one hand newspapers, magazines and other print media have become an important source of information and on the other hand they are acting as the tools of entertainment also. People eagerly wait for the newspapers every morning and spend some time of the morning reading the news which goes on for the whole day in some or the other form. There are news from sports, in vacancies in various companies, astrology, matrimonial ads, advertisements, animated...
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