Speech on the Important Role of Media in Democracy

By the end of the 1990s, the number of news channels through satellite, was simply mind-boggling. News on television was suddenly very big business. A plethora of TV serials and movies from all over the world also stormed into our lives. But it gets dangerous when news channels try to become entertainment channels and newspapers desperate to survive in a ‘dog eat dog world’ stoop to abysmally poor levels of vulgarity. Quality has always been inversely proportional to quantity. The media is no exception.

In today’s world, finding a decent news channel which portrays serious news can be challenging. Even newspapers respected all over the nation seem to be more obsessed with adding the latest gossip to their Page 3 than dealing with issues which concern the common man. Thus, an honest engineer like Satyendra Dubey who was most brutally murdered by the mafia in Bihar appears in and vanishes from the newspaper before we blink an eyelid but we are regularly reminded of Paris Hilton’s pets!

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Prestigious news channels devote hours of prime time to the post mortem of a reality show. There are some Cassandras as well who are on a mission to find out if it is full stop for the human civilisation in the year 2012. A spicy gossip is what the media wants to make out of every serious news item. Certain hosts on crime awareness programmes are so frightening in their approach that you feel that the world is soon going to end.

To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield should be the motto of the media. The media shoulders the responsibility of ensuring that the sacred foundation stones supporting the superstructure of modern India as a ‘Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic’ are not fiddled with. It has to hold a mirror to the conscience of the society. A democratic society preyed on by an irresponsible media with a ravenous greed for power can cause the social fabric to tear and the Indian giant would be reduced to a ramshackle edifice ready to crumble like a pack of cards.