Media is the technological means of sending information, ideas and opinions to a large audience. We live in a society where information and communication help to progress ahead in various fields of life, like work, health care, entertainment, education, travel and personal relationships. We wake up every day to check the news on TV, newspaper or the Internet.
We are exposed to advertisements which influence as to what we buy from the market. Children and teenagers are heavily influenced by media information regarding fashion, ideal body type, ideal image of beauty, urban lifestyles, etc.
Media has an important role to play. It both educates and enriches our lives. It provides educational information and improves academic performance. It collects and distributes information and news (religious, political, social, entertainment, and environmental) to the public.
Media can be used for helping a beneficial cause, such as promoting literacy or providing information about the benefits of medical progress (vaccination, polio, health care for the child and mother, or AIDS). It transmits social and cultural values.
Media plays a significant role in informing the public about the government policies, dealings and latest programmes. It allows the public to address its problems and maintain democracy in the country.
Media helps to mobilize people and brings about social integration. Mass media contact has been possible with the use of newspapers, radio, television news channels, and the Internet.
Media can also have negative effects both on the individual and society. India is well known for its diverse population in terms of faith, religion and language. Media can be misused by spreading wrong information and news, often leading to violence, prejudice and hatred among communities. Inciting communal violence and praising acts of violence must be avoided. Spread of rumors and propaganda is an organized way of spreading false information.
Often media does not respect the privacy of the individual and publishes private and confidential material about ordinary and well-known personalities. The use of media to circulate vulgar and obscene material is of concern to all, for the young and the adult.
Media serves important functions in society. Therefore it must fulfill certain responsibilities and obligations. The media must maintain ethical standards whereby it provides objective, balanced and accurate information to the masses. It should avoid inciting the masses towards crime, violence and hatred.
Community building and national integration must be one of its objectives. In fact the media should reflect the pluralistic nature of India and provide a voice to all members of the nation.