Media has seen a drastic change in the last years. Initially,the newspaper was seen as the only source of information, and it had a significant role in the nationalist movement. The newspaper was seen as a source that could bound all countries together as it had a massive impact on people. With the beginning of the empowering digital media, we can see a lot of change that globalization and technology have bought on the masses. Language has never been a barrier for even a diverse society like India; the newspaper was circulated in different languages from the beginning.
Earlier media could only reach the educated classes, but with the advancement in digital media, it has become easier to get all communities and categories.For more than 50 years, newspapers and TV have dominated news coverage almost everywhere until the internet created a low-cost opportunity to go global.
With the system of Multi-channel, multi-platform news that is distributed socially is a way of saying to the consumer, “you are in control: you decide if our content is entertaining and relevant and we supply it when and where you want it.” However, this fusion of traditional and new media is a big challenge for many, mostly for the daily newspaper, which faces the need to make a real strategic leap for survival.
“The Global Village” is a term to indicate the mass production and the mass consumption of media images and content across the world. The term denotes the coming together of the world’s countries in one gigantic web of media landscapes. To take an example, the famous US news channel, CNN, and the venerable British news channel, BBC, are available throughout the world. Similarly, in entertainment, we have the Star Group that is beamed across the globe.
In the knowledge and information category, we have National Geographic and Discovery that are available worldwide. This means that the ready availability of the same content throughout the world is binding the people in all countries to a common theme of oneness and shared media consumption.
In the 1990s, with the liberalization of many countries globally, the global broadcasters entered countries like India in a big way; the opening up of the Indian media landscape to foreign channels represented a revolution in how media is produced and consumed in the country. Many experts have pointed to the liberalization of the Indian mindset because of the consumption of global media. Indeed, many Indians were exposed to the West for the first time, and the consumption of western lifestyle imagery and consumer choices meant that the aspirational values of Indians went up. We can see a sense of cultural homogenization among the countries through shared media. It opens our mind towards western society and their norms.
Similarly, many African countries were exposed to satellite television around this period for the first time. This resulted in greater awareness among the African people about the West’s situation and relatively comfortable lifestyles that the Westerners enjoyed. Like in many countries, the explosion of media choices leads to a widening of the debate in politics, economics, and social sciences. This resulted in calls for greater freedom and a better standard of living, manifested in how the people in these countries started using the media to voice their concerns.
The Media, in turn, were happy to transmit the aspirations of the people, and it can be said that TV and Satellite TV, in particular, was the game-changer for many countries that were throwing off the old habits and old attitudes and embracing the Western way of life.
It can be seen that most media houses entered into partnerships with leading corporates wherein they published stories that were friendly to the advertisers.
The other parallel trend from this period to the present is that media houses became corporates themselves in how they approached the business of news reporting. Each media house aligned itself to a particular corporate among the leading companies. Thus, competition between the media houses ensured that the different industry groups in all countries could find sympathetic reporting from each media house. Moreover, the media houses’ revenues started to grow by leaps and bounds, and in this trend, media houses were no longer the independent entities that they were earlier.
In India, media conglomerates like the Times Group have risen in prominence in the last few decades thanks to the media’s corporatization. NewsCorp and Time Warner have come to symbolize big business and corporate media in all its glory in the UK and the US. The point here is that the media is no longer content with just reporting the news. Still, instead, it has morphed into entities that set the agenda and entities that play a prominent role in shaping public discourse. Also, the media houses entered into strategic partnerships with the leading corporates to get friendly press coverage. While the ethics of these trends can be debated, it is clear that the media, the conception of what makes news, has been altered, and the current media landscape is symbolic of the corporatization of the industry.
In many countries, the media can be seen used by the government as an instrument of control and for propaganda purposes. For instance, In India, media is seen as an essential instrument for political matters; we can see how media is governed by a specific party and does anything to spotlight the opposition and create a bad image of the opposition party. Media can be seen encouraging communal riots on several occasions; hence media has the upper hand in what they show and make people believe, so it should be neutral and should have a true story behind everything they showcase.
Media can be seen as the advent of change. Media persons in many countries work tirelessly and courageously to report and publish according to their conscience and not according to the establishment’s dictates. With the advent of the internet and social media, it has become easy for journalists with a conscientious bent of mind to pursue their passion and ideals. Because of the fluid nature of the medium, the internet is harder to control and manipulate. However, there are cases where the establishment resorts to manage websites and publications.
Because media persons have to walk a tightrope between the establishment and their duty to the citizenry, the bottom line must be fairness, truthfulness, and objectivity in their reporting. This can be done by ensuring that controversial stories are not killed or buried in the maze but instead, they are given the importance they deserve. Further, media houses ought to shun the temptations of power and perks and be neutral and unbiased in their reporting. This can be achieved if the media persons do not fall into the habit of receiving favors from the establishment and the corporates beyond a point. It is simply not possible to have objectivity all the time as sponsorship and advertising revenue is the backbone of the media.