Written by: Kunal Kishore, Kushagra Saxena and Parth Raman
Media as the fourth pillar of the democracy:
Journalism, as the fourth pillar of society, plays an important role in keeping citizens aware of the social, political, and economic activities going on behind them. It is like a window, revealing the bare reality and harsh elements of life. Because people still trust how much they publish, perceive, and listen through such media channels and start to create ideas and opinions depending on the info they are visualising, media outlets, whether traditional media or television/radio, serves as the fourth estate of democracy by educating and making people aware with unbiased news without even any modification or regulate. Since a result, journalists must transmit news or information based on genuine facts and data, as it has a tremendous influence and impact just on people.
The impact of media suppression on the country and its people:
The function of the media as a sentinel is critical in every democracy, but it is especially vital in the world’s largest democratic government. If we unfold the history of India, Indian media has always been known for its trustworthy and influential impact on the social, economical and political climate of the nation. But in recent years the practice of paid news and growth in TRP has shattered the trust over media drastically, and because of this, the biggest victim here turns out to be the Indian democracy. However, in recent years, the practice of sponsored journalism and the rise in TRP has severely eroded confidence in journalism, with the Indian democracy suffering the most as a result. Taking money and favours from business companies, lawmakers, governments, and other organisations have become increasingly common in recent years. As a consequence, the reality about both the government’s and political party’s wagers and enterprises is not revealed, and the people of a country are likely to experience so much. So, even if certain media outlets or reporters try to offer accurate information to the media, they are constantly silenced by threats or coercion or are simply suppressed by the government.
As previously stated, in today’s world, the practice of accepting privileges and government money and officials have caused the mainstream press to be biassed toward each other, and they frequently do not propagate factual information or something that is against them to frame a positive public image and to create state propaganda in the imaginations of the residents.
As the COVID-19 epidemic rampages on in India, many people are correctly focused on the substance of news about the death toll and months of isolation. The lack of real journalism underlying some of the articles exacerbates the already dire situation. According to allegations, Twitter blocked 52 posts criticising the Indian government’s management of the epidemic at the behest of the Indian government in April. Meanwhile, pro-government TV stations accused the farmers’ demonstrations of a lack of oxygen supply for COVID-19 inmates, even though supplies were lowering to lack of public health facilities. This reportage not only misleads and traumatises people impacted by the virus but also represents a significant danger to India’s thriving society.
What are our plans to address it? A minor step on to a more equal mainstream media environment would be to promote reporters and media organizations that are not sponsored by a corporation and hence are not obligated to pander to them. We must also support rural journalistic platforms such as Gaon Connection and PARI by donating to them. These systems are exposing fake news and ensuring that customers in our communities have access to relevant and unbiased information. Last but not least, we must exercise caution while consuming any source of data.
Why does government suppress media?
As previously stated, the mainstream press is the fourth pillar of democracy, as well as its position, is to enlighten and remind people of the cultural, financial, and economic sectors of the community, and a country’s government always seems to have a problem with the people will become enlightened and advised because it does not want the true character to be revealed, but after individuals becoming ever more conscious. That is why the state has always tried to limit the impact of the media by implementing various limitations and surveillance. To instil good a picture of the authority in the thoughts of the people of the nation.
Thus, the hard fact is that because of the suppression by the authorities a large section of Indian media has become biased and a “lapdog of the government instead of a watchdog to the society”.
In marked contradiction to the Indian media’s enormous financial politics and influence clout is its oblivious— and usually decreasing — value, dependability, and genuineness, loss of inclusiveness and internationalism, crassness in monitoring and reply to severe problems, and deliberate denial of federal standards of honest reporting.
The media has degraded the calibre of India’s national conversation in recent decades. The growth of technology has made in a narrowing of the public realm and the propagation of aristocratic and rabidly homophobic ideals. This is causing a developing, and perhaps serious, a trust issue. The low and declining standard of Indian journalism is visible in a variety of ways.
Firstly, this 1.2 billion-person nation does not have a single international-standard magazine of thought or artistic publication. It also does not print a substantial number of powerful publications that are not controlled by business cartels. The spectrum of social and political opinions represented in the mainstream media is relatively limited.
Secondly, the system no longer fulfils properly the basic duties that give it a correct term: educating people, telling the whole truth, evaluating complicated social, financial, and political processes, providing opportunities for public discussion, and functioning as the people’s sentinel or consciousness.
- Kunal Kishore – Public Policy Consultant.
- Parth Raman — Visiting Faculty, ICRI Group.
- Kushagra Saxena — Data Scientist.