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Untangling the role of Media: Is it amplifying panic or preventing it

Untangling the role of Media: Is it amplifying panic or preventing it

Media – The fourth pillar of democracy; the entertainment junction and the liveliest source of information. These are just the examples of how we have understood the role of media throughout our lives. Earlier media was the most reliable source of passing the information to the masses. We grew up, and so did media. The responsibility of any media organisation is to be unbiased and objective with regard to publishing and broadcasting any valuable insight. In all these years, we saw Media transforming into a more competitive, complex and controversial field of expertise. With hundreds of new channels, social media and alternative news websites “the battle of the best” has become even more challenging to handle.

Every innovation is proportionate to complexities. News channels and media websites are now available in all languages, which adds pressure. The maintenance, reach and development has become a tedious job, all of it just to keep the audience hooked to the production/publication. The idea of paid news and the competitiveness for Television Rating Point (TRP) adds to the reason for this drastic change. But where is the essence of news lost? Watching electronic media is like observing a rivalry between so big and reputed organizations filled with educated officials who are working for just the TRPs. We encountered a lot of such events especially in the past 2 years where the whole world was stuck in a disastrous pandemic, COVID-19 of course! Economic, social and personal life of people all around the world was affected. While media did keep up with the facts, it also amplified our panic, induced fear and caused psychological stress. We cannot deny the fact that credible, responsible and authentic media houses did contribute by following an upward trend towards the promotion of health and hygiene practices worldwide by adaption of safe health practices such as increased hand washing, use of face coverings, and social distancing. Media reinforced illness-preventing guidelines daily, and people were encouraged to use tele consultancy to meet their healthcare needs.

People were stuck at their homes, left with their phones. All they did was surfed through social media and news websites to get updates of the day. The idea of information seeking transformed into massive panic and traumatisation for them. The coverage was all about thousands of people getting infected through the virus and hundreds of them departing their souls. Anxiety increased to a level no one could ever imagine. Getting bombarded with excessive knowledge, that too about death is not something we wish for but eventually we suffered with a lot of information that affected our mental health negatively. Fake news and misinformation led all of us to a level of crisis communication. Spreading wrong information and misinformation can lead to a massive ruckus in the fronts of health and overall well-being of an individual.

It was and it is still important for every media organisation to be truthful and unbiased in reporting and publishing the content that needs attention. Along the same lines the excessive amount of “breaking news” can actually disrupt someone’s mental peace and stability. Balance is all that we need, especially when we are doing something for the masses. It is the responsibility of our fourth pillar of democracy to make us aware and update about things happening around the world. This responsibility is incomplete without keeping a check on the unrestrained competition amongst the media, incomplete and baseless facts. Media is a powerful influencer; it can shape our opinions and with same ease it can remodel them. The idea is to capitalise that power for the right acts. Accomplishing your strength and growing with the nation.

About the Author

Journalism Student from University of Delhi. Passionate for developing creative content.