ESSAYS

Topic- 01 Essay on Social Media, Biased Media, Role of Media

Topic- 01 Essay on Social Media, Biased Media, Role of Media

Famous Quotes on Social Media

J.K. Rowling

  • The more social media we have, the more we think we’re connecting, yet we are really disconnecting from each other.

Narendra Modi

  • Social media is reducing social barriers. It connects people on the strength of human values, not identities.

Aubrey Peeples

  • There are a lot of pros and cons about social media; it’s just how you choose to handle it and how you have to be prepared for the negatives as well.

Malala Yousafzai

  • What is interesting is the power and the impact of social media… So we must try to use social media in a good way.

Clara Shih

  • Social media isn’t a one-way broadcast; it’s a multiway opportunity for dialogue.

Jay Baer,

  • “Focus on how to be social, not on how to do social.”

Kim Garst

  • “Conversations are happening whether you are there or not.”

Matt Goulart

  • “Social Media is about the people! Not about your business. Provide for the people and the people will provide for you.”

Related Essay Came in Examination

UPSC 2019 Section B (Q-03) —– Biased media is a real threat to Indian democracy

UPSC 2017 Section B (Q-03) ——‘Social media’ is inherently a selfish medium

UPSC 2008 (Q-01) ———Role of Media In Good Governance

UPSC 2002 (Q-06) ——-Responsibility of Media In a Democracy

UPSC 1999 (Q-03)—— Mass Media and Cultural Invasion

UPPCS 2019 Section B (1) —-Role of social media in public awareness.

UPSC 2019 (Q-03) BIASED MEDIA IS A REAL THREAT To INDIAN DEMOCRACY

  • Media in India, according to several observers is currently facing the credibility crisis. This fact is buttressed further by statistical indicators. India has over 400 news channels in various languages and another 150 channels are awaiting clearance. The South Asian country also has tens of thousands of news papers and magazines. But the quality of Indian journalism is poor, as evidenced by the fact India ranks 140 among 180 countries in the index of 2019 compiled by “Reporters Without Borders”, an NGO.
  • Media in India has often been accused of media trial, fake-news, spreading communalism through media outlets, paid news, etc. Commentators criticize how the media has reduced the quality of India’s public discourse in recent years. Media expansion has shrunk the public sector, resulting in the spread of aristocratic class and socially conservative values.
  • The true test of a robust democracy is the independence of its media. Over the past few years our media has become the mouthpiece of the party in power coupled with the fact the corporate owners of media houses share close links with the government with the result that the Indian media has tragically lost its voice.
  • Serious issues like unemployment, Chinese incursions, tumbling economy, dissent in universities and even the unrest in societies where Dalits – the lowest level of India’s caste system – have been discriminated or killed, have received scant mention in media coverage. On the other hand, the media chirping goes constantly over non-issues related to muslims, statements of some unknown leaders and Pakistan. Yet, there hasn’t been a bigger debate about why the media has failed to effectively perform the critical tasks it’s supposed to do in a representative democracy.
  • When it comes to press freedom, India fares worse than even countries Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates. According to a media observer, over the last few years – especially after Prime Minister Narendra Modi won the general election of 2014 – the Indian mainstream media has allowed itself to be undermined by the transcendent political power that he represents. In fact, given the current state of how the mainstream media works it will be difficult to expose tweaked data and opacity in government functioning.
  • A new note of muscular nationalism has crept into media discourse Also conspicuous is the curbing of dissent and the rise of the surveillance state – developments that bode ill for the independence of the Indian media
  • According to another media observer, one reason why we don’t see much criticism in the media is that the government, in the person of the Prime Minister, has the ability to completely dominate the media’s agenda by saturating the public and media sphere with the message, image, and his voice. Thus the media is bound to only react to the news agenda offered by the government, rather than investigate its action independently.
  • It may be interesting to learn that five Indian news media companies – NDTV, News Nation, India TV, News24 and Network18 – are indebted to either Mukesh Ambani, the richest Indian and the owner of Reliance Industries, or Mahendra Nahata, an industrialist and Ambani associate, who is also on the board of Reliance’s new telecom venture, Reliance Jio.
  • According to a report published by The Hoot, a website that tracks media, at least 54 journalists were attacked between January 2016 and April 2017. According to Sevanti Ninan, who runs the site, many attacks on journalists go unreported, as reporters often succumb to threats from local politicians, policemen, and self-appointed vigilantes. In 2014 alone, 114 journalists were reportedly attacked, but only 32 attackers were arrested or prosecuted.
  • The media views the actions of citizens through the lens of nationalism, condemning those who question the state narrative as “antinational.” There is a credibility crisis, in that television news media in particular is driven by a tendency to put sensation above sense in the search for ratings. There is also unwillingness across the media to robustly challenge the official narrative on key issues partly out of its own failings but also largely out of fear of being denied access to those in power.
  • Debates on private news channels have been censured for being strident and shrill. India has one of the world’s most vibrant and competitive media environments. It is now time to conduct a reality check and ask whether all is well with it. It is also the time to ask, if red lines can be drawn for the legal and medical professions, why should it be any different for profit-making newspapers and TV channels?
  • The Press Council of India, partly government funded and set up in 1966 has the aim of “preserving the freedom of the press and maintaining and improving press standards in India.” However, the PCI doesn’t appear to be working in a proactive role. After backing media Curbs in J&K in a plea in the Supreme Court, the Press Council of India has now said it does not support any restriction on the media and asked members for views on the subject
  • There is genuine reason for concern. And one needn’t trot out an exaggerated report card to believe that, ostensibly the largest democracy in the world, India has become a breeding ground for a biased, stifled media, one that is increasingly being hijacked by vested interests, and for hostile environment of abuse and violence against journalists who manage to escape these attempts at control.
  • Within a truly democratic and secular framework, the media is conceptualised as the fourth estate’, which must be allowed to function independent of government to maintain a system of checks and balances on the power of the State, and to objectively observe, report, analyse and critique its actions to communicate to the people at large.
  • It is also dangerous for a country to have such a seemingly high degree and intensity of State control over sections of the media. Not only does it contribute to the fostering of an all powerful government that can escape media scrutiny, but it also makes it much easier to silence and punish any opposition to government by fabricating a case, sensationalizing it through news media, and launching a State-sponsored media trial.
  • The gravity of the situation is made starker if we examine the role of the media during the Emergency in 1975-77, a period where freedom of speech was curtailed and, indeed, blacked out. Even in that atmosphere, the opposition parties and most other stakeholders (barring, perhaps, industry and a large section of the media that caved in to Indira Gandhi’s diktats) in Indian democracy were united in their opposition to the government of the day.
  • India, its government(s), its media as well as its people, most certainly need to introspect on the Indian government’s – and, indeed, some state governments’ – stranglehold over the media, and the fear it inspires in journalists. Better to conduct this exercise now, than before freedom of the press is completely compromised in the country,

WORDS & MEANINGS

Media trial

  • Trial by media is a phrase popular in the late 20th] century and early 21st century to describe the impact of television and newspaper coverage on a person’s reputation by creating a widespread perception of guilt or innocence before, or after, a verdict in a court of law. For example: The neutral media should not indulge in a media-trial.

Fake-news :

  • Fake news (also known as junk news, pseudo news, or hoax news) is a form of news consisting of deliberate disinformation or hoaxes spread vial traditional news media (print and broadcast) or online social media. For example: Digital news has brought back and increased the usage of fake news, or yellow journalism.

Paid news :

  • Paid news in India is the practice of cash payment or equivalent to journalists and media organizations by individuals and organizations so as to appear in their news articles and to “ensure sustained positive coverage”. For example: The Press Council of India should punish the media houses indulging in fake news.

Discourse

  • written or spoken communication or debate. For example: The language of political discourse in our country is going down. Shrunk (past participle of shrink) become or make smaller in size or amount. For example: she wore a sweater which had shrunk slightly.

Robust

  • strong and healthy; vigorous. For example: The camel is of a more robust and compact breed than the tall beast used in India, and is more carefully tended.

Tumbling :

  • fall suddenly, clumsily, or headlong. For example: she pitched forward, tumbling down the remaining stairs.

Scant

  • barely sufficient or adequate. For example: Companies with scant regard for the safety of future generations must be booked by law.

Undermine

  • lessen the effectiveness, power, or ability of, especially gradually or insidiously. For example: This action of yours would undermine our years of hard work.

Tweak

  • improve (a mechanism or system) by making fine adjustments to it. For example: Engineers tweak the car’s operating systems during the race.

Opacity

  • the quality of lacking transparency or translucence. For example: Thinner paints need black added to increase opacity.

Conspicuous :

  • clearly visible. For example: He was very thin, with a conspicuous Adam’s apple.

Saturation

  • to a very full extent, especially beyond the point) regarded as necessary or desirable. modifier noun: saturation. For example: The press provided saturation coverage of the hearings.

Succumb

  • fail to resist pressure, temptation, or some other negative force. For example: We cannot merelv give up and succumb to despair.

Proactive

  • (of a person or action) creating or controlling a situation rather than just responding to it after it! has happened. For example: Employers must take a proactive approach to equal pay.

Trot out :

  • to bring forward for display or use. For example: Like every time, he trotted out a new excuse.

Exaggerated :

  • regarded or represented as larger, better, or worse than in reality. For example: He gave us an exaggerated account of his adventures.

Stifled :

  • make (someone) unable to breathe properly; suffocate. For example: Those in the streets were stifled by the fumes.

Foster

  • encourage the development of (something, especially something desirable). For example: The teacher’s task is to foster learning.

Fabricate

  • invent (something) in order to deceive. For example: Officers fabricated evidence. Another meaning is to construct or manufacture (an industrial product), especially from prepared components. For example: You will have to fabricate an exhaust system.

Gravity :

  • extreme importance; seriousness. For example: The administration must clamp down crimes of the utmost gravity.

Stark

  • severe or bare in appearance or outline. For example: The ridge formed a stark silhouette against the sky.

Introspect :

  • examine one’s own thoughts or feelings. For example: What they don’t do is introspect much about the reasons for their plight.

Stranglehold :

  • a grip around the neck of another person that can kill by asphyxiation if held for long enough. complete or overwhelming control. For example: In France, supermarkets have less of a stranglehold on food supplies.

UPSC 2017 Section B (Q-03) ‘Social media’ is inherently a selfish medium

Introduction

  • Social media is a technological platform to share ideas, connect with people having similar interests and share information. Popular social media sites like facebook, twitter, Instagram share immense popularity across the world and specially among younger tech savvy generation.
  • Social media like twitter are generally used to put across ideas or share some thought or event by people. These inputs are generally one sided and express only one point of view. The ensuing debates on any issue are polarized with any attempt to show other side being viewed as opposition. Two way effective communications are rare.
  • In the early days of social marketing, there was little competition for the dollar. Today, there are tons. You can spend thousands of dollars on a Facebook ad campaign, for example, and get no return on your investment. Just like competing for space in the newspaper years ago, you are not competing for eyes on social media. And since social media by its very nature is a “short attention span” media, it is 10 times harder to get their attention than it was with a newspaper ad. The ad headlines and copy are harder to write on Twitter or Instagram than in print.
  • For retailers, most case studies involving social media are either about very large organizations that have very large budgets or a food truck who tells its customers what street corner it will be on. The fact is that for majority of retailers, social media is a virtual and literal black hole.

Body

  • According to Narcissus, an old Greek mythological character, “I am amazing. Everyone knows this.” Social media creates egotists and narcissists by leading the user to engage into more indulgent or impulsive behavior, according to the Journal of Consumer Research. By focusing on through social media, and being away from the self, browsing a network may reduce self-awareness, which in return would also lower self-control and cause people to fuel their narcissistic and egotistic tendencies through exploitation of others.
  • Youngsters use media like Instagram and Facebook to share their photos, videos etc. Each one tries to put up a better image in order to garner more like and comments rather than any appreciation for other person. Media are used to promote oneself rather than connect with other members.
  • Social media sites too promote such behavior by adding features which are more ego boosters rather than any genuine appreciation. Selfies are taken with an objective of uploading on social sites rather than creating any memories. Social media promotes individualism rather than collectiveness
  • Discussions and supporting a social cause on social media too remain a superficial activity done with an intention to create a desired digital profile which is highly different from original personality. Many interest groups share information which looks genuine but has hidden agenda.
  • Social media is emerging as a tool of self promotion rather than genuine engagement. Though true it is an incomplete picture. Social media has a huge role in creating awareness about social and environmental issues by sharing information on one’s wall. Social media also allows people from far off world with shared interest to connect. Some of the revolutions in Middle East countries had their origin in social media.
  • Admittedly, many may brazenly claim that social media does not create egotists or narcissists, but instead the subject already covertly contained egotistic or narcissistic tendencies. Some may conceive the notion that social media usage simply makes people more impulsive rather than lowering their self-control; therefore, egotists and narcissists are not created, but rather impulsive behavior is within the subject. Another idea some may have is social media does not create a narcissists or egotists, but instead those characteristics of an individual have always been there and are shown. Despite this evidence, research done by numerous psychologists and scientists, including W. Keith Campbell, shows a great deal of increasing trend between social media usage and narcissist and egotistical incline.
  • To begin with, narcissists and egotists tend to have an overinflated sense of self, an exhibitionist streak and a sense of entitlement and little empathy for others. Narcissists and egotists often act in a way to create a boon for themselves: often through exploitation of other. Many narcissists and egotists will post constantly on social medias to gain the, thought to be, much needed attention they ever so desire.
  • On a social media site such as Twitter, one may post and not receive much attention until they deride, tease, or even mock another person. This sudden onset of attention through deriding a person or idea would trigger something within the narcissist’s or egotist’s mind that through exploitation of others, the narcissist or egotist receives more attention fueling their desire (Carpenter). The person executing the deriding may have not achieved the correct characteristics to become a technical narcissist or egotist, but through constant exploitation of others the person may become one through constant overinflation sense of self.
  • Secondly, CNN reports teenagers spend an average of five to nine hours a day on social media sites including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter (Wallace). Assuming a student gets the recommended nine hours of sleep, thirty-one to fifty-six percent of a teenager’s day is spent on social media sites to appease their needs ranging from what clothes are in style, to checking scores to a sports game. With a significant amount of time away from the self, the social media viewer would likely have lower selfwareness. Additionally, this effect would likely be strongest for people that have a close connection to the “others” in their network since they have expected to pay more attention to them and be generally more derested in their lives documented in the social network. A real narcissist is dissociated from his or her true self; he or she feels haunted by chronic feelings of loneliness, emptiness, and self-loathing and seeks to replace that disconnection with a sense of worth and importance fueled by others, found by research done by Amherst College. Social media takes the viewer away from his or herself, lowering their self-awareness and ultimately creating more narcissistic qualities.
  • According to psychologist Bruce McKinney, “Twitter would seem to be a perfect venue for narcissists because it allows individuals to answer the question, ‘What are you doing?’ via messages of 140 characters or less.” Twitter and Facebook allow people to post what they please and receive “likes” or “favorites” in return. One who thrives on attention from others could easily post a thought or simply what they are doing on a social site and receive attention fueling their obsession, and becoming more addicted to the attention gained from posting on social networks. Recent studies published in the Journal of Consumer Research show that when narcissists or egotists “fuel” is cut off or obstructed, the narcissist oregotist may likely lambaste the obstructer and enjoy the schadenfreude which would follow.

Conclusion

  • By focusing on others through social media, and being away from the self, browsing a social network may reduce self-awareness, which in return would also lower self-control and cause people to fuel u narcissistic and egotistic tendencies through the exploitation of on People may not be always born a narcissist or egotist, but through constant use of social media, overinflated sense of self, and the feeling of needed be heard, one may become a narcissists or egotists. People should refrain from the negative provoking which takes place on social media to protect themselves, and the people around them from a possible loss of empathy and an increase of apathy.

WORDS & MEANINGS

  • tech savvy : (adjective informal) well informed about or proficient in the use of modern technology, especially computers. “today’s tech-savvy consumers”
  • egotists: a self-centered or selfish person (opposed to altruist). an arrogantly conceited person; egotist. an adherent of the metaphysical principle of the ego, or self; solipsist.
  • Narcissists: noun a person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves.” narcissists who think the world revolves around them”.
  • Garner: verb gather or collect (something, especially information or approval). “the police struggled to garner sufficient evidence” synonyms: gather, collect, accumulate, amass, assemble.
  • Selfies: noun informal plural noun: selfies a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media. “occasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself every day isn’t necessary”.
  • hidden agenda : noun a secret or ulterior motive for something “she feels there’s a hidden agenda behind the proposed road”.
  • impulsive : acting or done without forethought. They married as impulsive teenagers” synonym impetuous, spontaneous, hasty, passiona emotional, uninhibited, unrepressed, abandoned
  • Appease :verb. pacify or placate (someone) by acceding to their demands. “amendments have been added to appease local pressure groups” synonyms: conciliate, placate, pacify, make peace with, propitiate, palliate, allay, reconcile, win over.
  • Lambaste : verb. criticize (someone or something) harshly. “they lambasted the report as a gross distortion of the truth” synonyms: criticize, castigate, chastise, censure, condemn, take to task, harangue, attack, rail at, rant at, revile, fulminate against, haul/call over the coals.
  • schadenfreude : noun. pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune. “a business that thrives on Schadenfreude”
  • empathy: noun. the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
  • Apathy: noun. lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern. “widespread apathy among students” synonyms: indifference, lack of interest, lack of enthusiasm, lack of concern, unconcern, uninterestedness, unresponsiveness, impassivity, passivity, passiveness, detachment, dispassion, dispassionateness, lack of involvement, phlegm, coolness;

UPSC 2008 (Q-01) Role of Media In Good Governance

  • The relationship between media and good governance was the 2005 theme for the UNESCO World Press Freedom Day. On that day we celebrate the commitment and dedication of a particular individual to defend the right of freedom of expression, it is appropriate to examine the notion of good governance in the light of this right and its sister right, the right of access to information.
  • The role of the media in promoting good governance is clear. All aspects of good governance are facilitated by a strong and independent mediascape within a society. Only when journalists are free to monitor, investigate and criticize the public administration’s policies and actions can good governance take hold. Independent media are like a beacon that should be welcomed when there is nothing to hide and much to improve.
  • Indeed, this is the concrete link between the functioning of the media and good governance – the media allow for ongoing checks and assessments by the population of the activities of government and assist in bringing public concerns and voices into the open by providing a platform for discussion. Instead, all too often governments devise laws and informal means of keeping their activities hidden from public view of only available to media favorable to their viewpoint. In recent years, any governments have tried to co-opt journalists by paying part of their salries or by giving them certain kinds of access on condition that they will not report from other perspectives. If the media are to function in the public interest, governments have to protect the independent functioning of the media and allow various viewpoints to flourish in society.
  • Greater participation is crucial for good governance in two ways: greater participation by citizens in the decision-making process allows greater transparency and can help ensure that political decisions are adapted to the needs of the people affected by them. Second, greater participation is important for democratic legitimacy, which depends on the investment people have as citizens in their own governing.
  • The role of independent and pluralistic media in fostering participation is critical as the media report on aspects of the decisionmaking process and give stakeholders a voice in that process. Freedom of the media allows for the formation of a public sphere in which a wide range of debates can take place and a variety of viewpoints be represented. The citizenry can thereby use the media to express their assent or dissent or explore aspects of issues not considered through official channels. Government has a responsibility to allow the media to contribute to the participation process, especially in arenas where face-to-face participation is not possible.
  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that all human beings have certain basic inherent, inalienable and unassailable rights to which they are entitled by birth. Guaranteeing these rights to citizens is a precondition for a functioning democracy.
  • By reporting and denouncing cases of human rights violations, a free and open media can increase awareness among citizens about their rights and act as a reliable source of information on the basis of which civil society organizations and public authorities can work to bring down the incidences of arbitrary abuse. However, many obstacles often face journalists investigating cases of human rights violations: restrictive censorship, lack of fair access to official information, heavy fines or even prison terms. Ensuring freedom of expression and press freedom should therefore be regarded as a priority as they are rights that make it possible to advance and protect other human rights.
  • The rule of law requires freedom of speech and media. It is implied in the existence of law and other judicial systems within societies and is enshrined in the texts of the law itself. When the rule of law is not respected, arbitrariness and impunity dominate the political scene. The rule of law depends heavily on the development of an independent and honest judiciary and the will of any particular government to restrain itself and show respect before the law. People must be free to comment and assemble without fear and be able to criticise the actions of government. The role of the journalists in this process is pivotal.The media remains an effective means of promoting accountability in government, and journalists play an essential role in upholding the rule of law. If their Cources of information are not protected, and they themselves are open to legal action which prevents them from reporting in the public interest, the rule of law is threatened. Uniform shield laws for journalist’s sources should be implemented across all Indian jurisdictions and should provide certainty and adequate protection for journalists and their sources.
  • The media have a crucial function as the sector of society most able to promote vigilance towards the rule of law, especially through fostering investigative journalism, promoting the openness of court, legislative and administrative proceedings, access to officials and to public documents. The government has a key role here in protecting the independence and pluralism of the media, especially during critical moments of these processes.
  • Corruption is one of the hardest issues states have to face in the governance process. Corrupt practices rob governments of the means to ensure the best life for their people, while many in government may feel that exposure of corruption erodes their legitimacy. Journalists who investigate corruption often face severe reprisals as corrupt officials threaten their place of work, their families and their reputation. It is important for governments to take a firm stand against corruption and to protect both whistle-blowers and the media that report on corrupt practices in government. Legitimacy is only aided by a governance strategy that sees independent investigative media as an ally and not as a threat.
  • A current issue in many governmental reform processes is transparency. As state bureaucracies have grown into large, often opaque entitie practices of secrecy often cover the hidden struggles and interests of particular sectors and civil servants beyond their stated missions. In some cases, the social networks that link civil servants and the broader society lead to conflicts of interest in the practice of governance that are hidden by the secrecy of administration. Greater transparency in public administration allows for checks on these possible conflicts of interest and ensures greater legitimacy for the government. An independent media that is guaranteed access to public documents and to decision-making processes is able to bring possible conflicts of interest to light and assist the government in maintaining clarity in the execution of its directives. Positive expressions of an open relationship between the media and democratic governments include judicial protections for the media, inculcated respect for freedom of expression and access to information, support for national independent broadcasters and news agencies in the public service and the lessening of punitive restrictions on journalistic activities.
  • Closely linked to the issue of transparency is accountability. Where transparency focuses on the practices of public administration, accountability points to the responsibility for judging those practices and their effectiveness by various entities, including the public. Accountability includes a sense of moral accountability to the public with various kinds of sanctions guaranteed by the rule of law. While most forms of state government include internal regimes of accountability, accountability to the public is critical to the legitimating of a democratic society. In an atmosphere in which the public is free to examine the transactions of the government and to hold its representatives accountable for their actions, the public simultaneously takes responsibility for the functioning of their government through this form of participation.
  • Ensuring wider access to information, through the enactment of freedom of information legislation, ensures greater citizen participation in governance. This allows for maximum verifiability of information and allows all stakeholders to come to the table equally on important issues.
  • Governments should also explore ways to strengthen “e-governance” which provides media and citizens with direct access to administrative information and decision-making processes. Openness and transparency in the electoral process is also critical. Media coverage is a crucial component of elections and it is of vital importance that journalists be trained to cover the election campaigns and the elections themselves in a fair and impartial manner, giving equal coverage to the viewpoints concerned.
  • An open and free media can play an important role in the fight against poverty. Firstly, by on the one hand increasing the accountability of both businesses and governments, and on the other allowing citizens to make better informed decisions, it promotes and encourages good governance, without which the battle against poverty cannot be won.
  • Secondly, by acting – as mentioned above – as a watchdog against corruption, it can help ensure that greater importance be attached to development issues in the allocation of resources, while at the same time strengthening the institutions responsible for promoting the overall development of society.
  • Media can contribute to combating the exclusion and marginalization of the poor. This is important, for poverty is more than just a lack of resources; it is a lack of empowerment. Poor people are generally unable to participate fully in society and earn a living. Simply providing them with additional resources is therefore not enough to lift them from their deprivation. What they need are increased capabilities. Only then can they gain control over their lives and learn how to productively use whatever resources are available. Reducing poverty through achieving sustainable development is thus the key objective. Finally, a free media can contribute to the empowerment of citizens through educational programmes and public health programmes such as HIV/AIDS education campaigns.

WORDS & MEANINGS

  • beacon: Guiding or signal
  • co-opt: Appoint to the membership of a committee or other body by invitation of the existing members. “the committee may co-opt additional members for special purposes”; divert to or use in a role different from the usual or original one. “social scientists were co-opted to work with the development agencies”; adopt (an idea or policy) for one’s own use; “the green parties have had most of their ideas co-opted by bigger parties”
  • transparency : Openness, communication, and accountability. Transparency is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed.
  • Pluralistic: A conviction that various religious, ethnic, racial, and political groups should be allowed to thrive in a single society. In metaphysics, pluralism can also mean an alternative to dualism and monism; A pluralistic society is a diverse one, where the people in it believe all kinds of different things and tolerate each other’s beliefs even when they don’t match their own.
  • Fostering: Encouraging the development of (something, especially something desirable). “the teacher’s task is to foster learning”.
  • Assent : The expression of approval or agreement. “a loud murmur of assent”.
  • Dissent : The holding or expression of opinions at variance with those commonly or officially held.; “there was no dissent from this view.”; a strong difference of opinion on a particular subject, especially about an official suggestion or plan or a popular belief: When the time came to approve the proposal, there were one or two voices of dissent.
  • Inalienable: Unable to be taken away or to be given to another. The right to life and liberty are examples of rights that are described as inalienable.
  • Unassailable: Immune to attack; incapable of being tampered with; “an unassailable fortress”.
  • Denouncing: Publicly declaring to be wrong or evil. “the Assembly denounced the use of violence”.
  • enshrined : Preserved (a right, tradition, or idea) in a form that ensures it will be protected and respected. “the right of all workers to strike was enshrined in the new constitution”
  • impunity : Freedom from punishment or harm. When you steal something and you do not go to jail or face any consequences, this is an example of when you steal with impunity.
  • erodes : To diminish or destroy by degrees.
  • reprisals : The act or practice in international law of resorting to force, short of war in retaliation for damage or loss suffered.
  • opaque : Hard to understand; unclear.
  • verifiability: Proving the truth of, as by evidence or testimony.
  • watchdog: A guardian or defender against theft or illegal practices or waste; “she is the global watchdog| for human rights abuses”; protector; shielder.
  • Marginalization: Social exclusion, or social marginalization, is the social disadvantage and relegation to the fringe of society. It is a term used widely in Europe and was first used in France. It is used across disciplines including education, sociology, psychology, politics and economics.

UPSC 2002 (Q-06) Responsibility of Media In a Democracy

  • The Indian media display certain defects. These should ideally be addressed and corrected in a democratic manner. But if the media prove incorrigible, harsh measures may be called for. The time has come when some introspection by the Indian media is required. Many people, not only those in authority but even ordinary people, have started saying that the media have become irresponsible and wayward, and need to be reined in.
  • Recently, the Union government has issued some regulations regarding licences for news channels, to which there was a lot of reaction. Under the Constitution of India, freedom of the media is part of the freedom of speech guaranteed by Article 19 (1) (a). However, no freedom can be absolute and reasonable Restrictions can be placed on it. One of the basic tasks of the media is to provide truthful and objective information to the people that will enable them to form rational opinions, which is a sine qua non in a democracy. But are the Indian media performing this role properly?
  • There are certain defects in the functioning of the India media today.
  • Twisting facts: One of the defects is that the media often twist facts. Here is an example. One day, a leading English newspaper published on its front page a photograph of Justice Gyan Sudha Misra of the Supreme Court with the caption: “Supreme Court Judge says that daughters a liabilities.” This was a distorted and fallacious item of news, published on the front page.
  • Supreme Court Judges have to disclose their assets and liabities. Against the liabilities column, Justice Misra had written: “two daughters to be married.” Strictly speaking, it was not necessary to mention this because liabilities mean legal liabilities, for example, housing loan, car loan, and so on. Justice Misra’s intention was obviously to say that she would have to spend on her daughters’ future marriages. She has three daughters (no son); only one of whom has been married. Justice Misra never said, nor intended to say, that her daughters were liabilities. The news was false and defamatory, with the obvious intention of creating a sensation.
  • Paid news: A second defect concerns the issue of paid news that has become prominent of late. In the 2009 elections, it was a scandal. How this vicious practice could be stopped needs to be discussed. It is a difficult thing to eliminate because it is a corrupt practice that can leave no evidence. It can be eradicated only when the journalists are of morally high standard and honest in their work.
  • Non-issues as real issues: A third defect is that the media often portray non-issues as real issues, while the real issues are sidelined. The real issues in India are economic, that is, the terrible economic conditions in which 80 per cent of our people are living, the poverty, and unemployment, lack of housing and medical care and so on. Instead of addressing these real issues, the media often try to divert the attention of people to nonissues, such as that the wife of a film actor has become pregnant, whether she will give birth to a single child or to twins, and so on. Are these the real issues facing the nation?
  • At a Lakme India Fashion Week event, there were 512 accredited journalists covering the event in which models were displaying cotton garments, while the men and the women who grew that cotton were killing themselves at a distance of an hour’s flight from Nagpur, in the Vidharbha region. Nobody told that story, except one or two journalists, locally.
  • Is this a responsible way for the Indian media to function? Should the media turn a Nelson’s eye to the harsh economic realities facing over 75 per cent of our people, and concentrate on some ‘Potemkin villages’ where all is glamour and show biz? Are not the Indian media behaving much like Queen Marie Antoinette, who said that if the people had no bread, they should eat cake?
  • No doubt, sometimes the media mention farmers’ suicides, the rise in the price of essential commodities, and so on, but such coverage is at most 5 per cent to 10 per cent of the total. The bulk of the coverage goes to showing the life of film stars, pop music, fashion parades, cricket and astrology
  • Tendency to brand: Here is a fourth defect. Bomb blasts have taken place near the Delhi High Court, in Mumbai, Bangalore and so on. Within a few hours of such a bomb blast, many TV channels started showing news items that said that the Indian Mujahideen or the Jaish-e-Mohar or the Harkatul-Jihad-e-Islam had sent e-mails or text messages chain responsibility. The names of such alleged organisations will alwa Muslim ones. Now, an e-mail can be sent by any mischievous person, but by showing this on TV channels and the next day in the newspapers, the tendency is to brand all Muslims as terrorists and bomb-throwers.
  • The truth is that 99 per cent of the people of all communities, whether the Hindu, the Muslim, the Christian or the Sikhs, and of whatever or region, are good. But the manner in which such news is shown on TV screens and published in newspapers tends to create the impression that all the Muslims are terrorists, and evil – which is totally false. The person who sends such e-mails or text messages obviously wants to create hatred between the Hindus and the Muslims, which is the old British divide and-rule policy continuing even today. Should the media, wittingly or unwittingly, become part of this policy of divide-and-rule?
  • No doubt there are defects not only in the media but also in other institutions, for example, the judiciary, the bureaucracy, and so on. There are two ways to remove these defects in the media. One is the democratic way, that is, through discussions, consultations and persuasion – which is the method that is more preferable. The other way is by using harsh measures against the media, for example, by imposing heavy fines on defaulters, stopping government advertisements to them, suspending their licences, and so on.
  • In a democracy, we should first try the first method to rectify the defects through the democratic method. For this purpose, authorities in responsible positions should hold regular get-togethers with the media, including the electronic media, so that we may all introspect and ourselves find out ways and means to rectify the defects in the media, rather than this being done by some government authority or external agency.
  • In addition, the discussions with the media and the issues raised at these discussions held at a regular interval should be circulated to all media personnel and the media organizations should be encouraged to evolve their best practices over time that they can follow.
  • If the media prove incorrigible, harsh measures may be required. But in a democratic nation like India that should be done only as a last resort and in extreme situations. Ordinarily, we should first try to resolve issues through discussion, consultation and self-regulation. That is the approach which should be first tried in a democracy.
  • Till now the function of the Press Council was only adjudication. It is recommended that the Press Council should also be empowered as an instrument of mediation in addition, which is the democratic approach. For this purpose, help, cooperation and advice from the media should also be taken.
  • India is passing through a transitional period in its history, from a feudal agricultural society to a modern industrial society. This is a very painful and agonising period. The media must help society go through this transitional period as quickly as possible, and by reducing the pain involved. This, they can do by attacking feudal ideas, for example, casteism and communalism, and promoting modern scientific ideas.

WORDS & MEANINGS

  • incorrigible : (Of a person or his behaviour) not able to be changed or reformed
  • reined in : Controlled and stopped
  • restriction : A limiting condition or measure, especially a legal one
  • sine quanon : An essential condition; a thing that is absolutely necessary
  • fallacious : Based on a mistaken belief
  • defamatory : (Of remarks, writing, etc.) damaging the good reputation of someone; slanderous or libellous
  • sensation : A widespread reaction of interest and excitement
  • vicious practice: 1. Mean-spirited or deliberately hurtful; practice malicious: vicious gossip. 2. Extremely violent or wicked, morally bad in principle
  • eliminate : Completely remove or get rid of (something)
  • divert: Cause (someone or something) to change course or turn from one direction to another
  • Nelson’s eye: The expression has been around for several hundreds of years, and it has the same meaning as ‘turn a blind eye’ to something. When you turn a blind eye to a problem, you choose to deliberately ignore it; you pretend the problem does not exist. e.g., How can Gautam turn a Nelson’s eye to the rampant corruption in his department?
  • potemkin .: A pretentiously showy or imposing facad villages intended to mask or divert attention f embarrassing or shabby fact or condition of Potemkin village (1935-40); after Potëmkin, who allegedly had the vill cardboard constructed for Catherine .. Ukraine and Crimea in 1787.
  • Wittingly: With full knowledge and deliberation
  • Persuasion: The act of influencing someone to do something or to change his mind
  • best practices : Commercial or professional procedures that are accepted or prescribed as being correct or most effective.
  • incorrigible : That which can’t be corrected
  • adjudication : The action or process of adjudicating
  • transitional: Belonging or relating to a change, or the process of change, from one form or type to another
  • agonizing: Causing mental anguish to

UPSC 1999 (Q-03) Mass Media and Cultural Invasion

  • I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my window to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any. I refuse to live in other people’s houses as an interloper, a beggar or a slave.” Mahatma Gandhi.
  • The statement of Mahatma Gandhi clearly shows his belief that he believed in letting the cultures from the outside world come to his house (India) but at the same time he did not want the culture to invade or blow him off by feet. The culture of India gives the Indians their unique strength. Today, mass media is the major source of transmission of culture. Therefore, let us understand what the mass media is and how it works.
  • Mass media is a critical part of human societies. Understanding mass media is usually a key to understanding a population and culture; that’s why the field of media studies is so huge. Watching, reading, and interacting with a nation’s mass media can provide clues into how people think, especially if a diverse combination of mass media sources are perused. In the last 50 years the media influence has grown supportively with the advance of technology, first there was the telegraph, then the radio, the newspaper, magazines, television and now the Internet. We live in a society that depends on information and communication to keep moving in the right direction and do our daily activities like work, entertainment, health care, education, personal relationships, travelling and anything else that we have to do. In our work, we usually know what we have to do is based on our experience and studies; however in our daily life daily life we rely on the media to get the current news and facts about what is important and what we should be aware of. We have put our trust on the media as an authority to give us news, entertainment and education.
  • The mass media are the major transmitters of culture. Television broadcasts entertainment that reflects stereotypes of acceptable and unacceptable behaviours and values across a wide range of dimensions, including race or ethnicity, class, gender, age, physical and mental ability and sexual orientation. The format of the programmes often invites viewers to laugh at, despise, or belittle cultures other than the dominant one. For example, the Simpsons is a TV programme which has a running joke that depicts Pakistani immigrants as ignorant convenience-store owners and confused taxicab drivers.
  • News programmers reflect the interests of the society’s major power groups – corporations and the wealthy. The media are themselves controlled by major corporate entities and the primary sponsors of programming are corporate advertisers. Television commercials encourage a materialistic consumer mentality, regardless of necessity, safety, or effectiveness of products. Advertising creates a consumer culture in that it defines individuals’ needs and then entices people to fulfil them by purchasing goods and services, an activity that is the lifeblood of capitalism.
  • In India, the mass media has played both negative and positive roles. On the positive side, the value of consumerism has been highlighted. So, the traditional Indian value of simple living and high thinking has been replaced by the thinking why my neighbour has a better car or a better house than mine. The middle-class children prefer junk food in preference to the healthy homemade food because of food advertisements in mass media. There is more focus on learning English as the expense of local language and children are forgetting the myths and values of their own culture.
  • However, the mass media has also led to modernization at a faster rate and there are some positive values in modernization. The process of modernization may be best understood as consisting of four sub-processes, of which one is technological development. In the course of modernization, traditional knowledge and techniques give way to the application of scientific knowledge and techniques borrowed mainly from the industrialized West. Another sub-process is agricultural development, represented by a shift in emphasis from subsistence farming to commercial farming, instead of raising crops and livestock for their own use, people turn with growing frequency to the production of cash crops, with Increased reliance on a cash economy and on global markets for selling farm products and purchasing goods. A third sub-process is industrialization, with a greater emphasis placed on material forms of energy-especially fossil fuels, to drive machines. Human and animal power becomes less important, as do handicrafts in general. The fourth sub-process is urbanization, marked particularly by population movements from rural settlements into cities. Although all sub-processes are interrelated, there is no fixed order of appearance.
  • As modernization proceeds, other changes are likely to follow. In the political realm, political parties and some sort of electoral apparatus frequently appear, along with the development of an administrative bureaucracy. In formal education, institutional learning opportunities expand, literacy increases, and indigenous educated elite develops. Religion becomes less important in many areas of thought and behaviour as traditional beliefs and practices are undetermined. Many traditional rights and duties connected with kinship are altered, if not eliminated, especially where distant relatives are concerned. Finally, where social satisfaction is a factor, social mobility increases as ascribed status becomes less important and personal achievement counts for more.
  • Throughout the so-called underdeveloped world, in Africa, Asia, South and Central America, and elsewhere, whole countries are in the throes of radical political and economic change and overall cultural transformat. In fact, new inventions and major advances in industrial production, mass transportation, and communication and information technologies are transforming societies in Europe and North America as well. This worldwide process of accelerated modernization in which all parts of the earth are becoming interconnected in one vast interrelated and all-encompassing system is known as globalization.
  • Globalization is the buzzword of the moment: a concept that has captured the interest of academics, business leaders, and politicians alike. Even as the world has become increasingly fragmented by specialized interests, it has simultaneously become more global as well. Globalization is a complex set of social, political, and economic processes in which the physical boundaries and structural policies that previously reinforced autonomy of the nation state are collapsing in favour of instantaneous and flexible worldwide social-relations. While globalization is multidimensional, the most important dimension is economic globalization. In the past few decades, the spread of capitalism has fuelled the multinational corporations which wish to profit from untapped global markets”. Hence, these corporations aggressively support free trade policies that eliminate barriers such as trade tariffs between national international markets. For the mass media, which are owned and controlled almost exclusively today by multinational corporations, Globalization creates opportunities to bring their cultural products to Jistant local markets. This fact has raised fears about cultural imperialism, the imposition of one set of cultural values on other cultures. The process is bi-directional, however. Local markets are influencing the products and thinking of the very companies targeting them, leading to concern that cultural difference is being eradicated in favour of one large hybridized culture.
  • Human populations have always been on the move. But today, more people travel faster and farther than ever before due to modern means of transportation. Moreover, revolutions in communication technology-from print media to telegraph and telephone to radio, television, satellites, and the Internet-make it possible to exchange more information with more people more swiftly and over greater distances. Obviously, the global flow of humans, their products and their ideas, play a major role in cultural change. A popular belief since the mid-1900s has been that the future world will see the development of a single homogeneous world culture. This idea is based largely on the observation that, due to technological developments in communication, transportation, and trade, people of the world are increasingly watching the same television programmes, reading the same newspapers, eating the same foods, wearing the same types of clothes, and communicating via satellites and the Internet.
  • In the transition to post-modernity, mass media have gone from being one institution among many within our cultural environment to being the very basis of our cultural environment. It is evident by studies that the further back in history one travels, the less central mass media are to social life and the more central are other social institutions such as the family, the worship places, the school, and the state. But today, these social institutions have been subsumed by, and are largely filtered through, the mass media. More than ever before, the mass media have replaced families as caretakers, worship places as arbiters of cultural values, schools as sites of education, and the state as public agenda-setters.
  • In conclusion, we can say that mass media impacts culture not one way but both ways. In other words, while the mass media has brought about westernization and modernization of the Indian tradition, it has also carried the Indian and the Eastern cultural values to the west. The culture of Yoga, Ayurveda, along with dietary items like chutney and curry are the Indian export to the western culture disseminated through the mass media.

WORDS & MEANINGS

  • Peruse: Read (something), typically in a thorough or careful way
  • Stereotype: A widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing
  • Entice: Attract or tempt by offering pleasure or advantage.
  • Lifeblood: Essential part
  • reliance: Dependance
  • throes : Intense or violent pain or struggle
  • buzz word: A word or phrase, often an item of jargon, that is fashionable at a particular time or in a particular context.
  • Subsumed: Included or absorbed
  • arbiter (s) : Judge, authority, determiner

Topic-01 Essay on Media Ends

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