We live in a media-dominated ecology. Here, representation is reality and forms are defined by images. Due to growing media groups with varying interests of their own, a single reality gets different representations in the world today. In effect, it gives the impression of having different realities.
In this context comes the need to analyse media in terms of power; the need to classify media as that of the powerful and the powerless; of the majority and the minority. For the former, media is the tool for creating stereotypes of the latter and a means to legitimise and maintain their power and authority. Meanwhile, for the latter, media provides political space for their continuous struggle and resistance against being subjugated and subordinated. In the first case, a journalist becomes a ‘media slave’ to the dominant interests. In the second, journalism itself transforms into a struggle.
Growth of media is dependent on the market economy. In other words, both media and market economy have grown in service to one another. In course of this mutual association, from little compromises in its policies, media has succumbed totally to the needs of market economy. It is no rare case today of news being sold and advertisements being disguised as editorial contents.
‘Who represents whom’ is another crucial question in journalism. The SMS votes in the TV channels are often projected as the voice of the nation. On the other hand, the fact that a majority of our society still remain without access to the world of mobile phones is brutally neclected in media. Our camera eyes continue to be shut against the rural and slum populations of the country. Media is busy covering events for sensationalism and they often forget or reject to track and contribute to the processes that bring about changes in the existing exploitative social order.
The fourth Estate of our democracy has proved at various instances the lack of control on its free rein. ‘Trial by media’, ‘paparazzi’, and ‘media syndicate’ etc were blemishes on its rich tradition. However, self regulation was the suggested measure against them from the side of the State. It assured that there wouldn’t be any external pressure on media.
The Indian media has a magnificent history of having acted as a silent soldier in the freedom struggle and served as a humble preacher in the social reforms. When its mouths were shut forcibly during the Emergency, it had dared to react even in silence through empty editorials.
Technological advancement enables media to work at individual level. Now, news is no more the flow from one end to the other. The reader or the viewer is no longer a mere subscriber of news. He/she can now actively participate and contribute to mass communication. Interactions between people may define the news today. Here, each individual has the option and opportunity to represent themselves. Now everyone has his/her own voice to be raised. In a post-modern civilization, journalism should not be just a profession, service or a hobby. It should be considered a responsibly of each citizen. There lies the solution to the current state of collapse of journalism.