THE FOURTH PILLAR OF DEMOCRACY – 2

Media – History and evolution.

As mentioned in the previous article, evolution being common in every field, the change is seen in the media too. Though changes are common, there is a need to look at its positive and negative faces. Detailed evaluation will not only lead us to understand the evolution better but also brings us together to bring a positive wave out there.

1.      Newspaper: Newspaper has been one of the sustained modes of media today. Being the most affordable medium even today, started somewhere around the 17th century by Johann Carolus who published the first newspaper ever called ‘Relation aller Furnemmen und gedenckwürdigen Historien’ in Germany in 1605.

In India, the first newspaper started by Europeans in the 18th century called the Bengal gazette also known as ‘Hicky’s Bengal Gazette’ was introduced by James Augustus Hicky in English while ‘Udant martand’ was the first Hindi newspaper in 1826. Soon after its establishment, many printing presses were opened and newspapers with important contents came rushing into the market. Initially though expensive, they were made affordable in the future to a common citizen.

Newspapers which have given rise to great columnists and journalists like B.G Tilak, Madan Mohan Malaviya, and Subramanya iyer (who started The Hindu – which is even today India’s most respected newspaper working on a different ideology from that of its initiation), D.V.Gundappa and many great content writers. Today, newspapers though does not have the significance it had during the times of independence, still holds a significant rank in the media list.

2.       Radio: Marconi who started radio in and around the 1900’s brought about a great revolution at those times in the field of media. Initially, radio which was used only for the propagation and exchange of information in the ship journey gradually started being used for purposes such as delivering the significant messages and information to the public. World which heard the broadcasted news entered upon a new era of technology.

In India, radio was introduced a little later. The broadcasting initially began by the Bombay Presidency radio club and other two provinces of Kolkata and Madras by the British Raj in 1923. In the later days, after the independence All India Radio (AIR) also known as Akashvani was introduced by the government of India which is now the national public radio broadcaster of India and is a division of Prasar Bharati.

Radio whose main usage was to broadcast the news in and around the people was gradually made a medium for entertainment too. Songs from recent cinemas are played and today it is mostly an entertainment instrument than an information medium in most parts of the world.

3.       Television: Television was invented in the early 20th century. Stepping into another way in the path of technology, television as the word itself says made way to telecast the information on it. People around the world, who were by then done with reading and listening to the new, now were able to see what was actually happening around the world. At the times when radio became affordable, there was introduction of television in the market.

In India, television started only after India got independence. In 1959, the public broadcaster Doordarshan abbreviated DD as the national telecaster. The times where people waited to ‘Listen’ to the news was on the edge and people were on their toes to ‘watch’ the news.

In the later stages, television was also included in the machine of entertainment. Cinemas had started and short films and serials were telecasted. Households lined up in front of the television at scheduled times to get a break from the household chores.

Media has evolved in stages. Reading, Listening and watching. But the upgradation and evolution of technology in the media did not stop here. Mobile phones were introduced. People share the news. The Internet was introduced, news was just a click away. The modern forms of media had made way for a different era. What are those modern forms?

Social Media: Modern forms.

In the mid 1990’s, mobile phones were introduced in India and in 1995 the first phone call was exchanged by the ministers of west Bengal.  By this time the internet was already introduced to the world. However, it’s only after the combination of mobile phones and internet that a huge revolution in media started taking place. Gradually search engines were opened to the public where an individual could search any information he/she wanted. Social media platforms like Facebook were introduced, where people could create their profile and had an opportunity to start writing on the wall.

This in the further days, provided opportunity not only to the certified journalists but also common man could speak up his views on any issue around him. This is when initial mediums like newspapers, radio and television lost its place. Twitter then brought a huge wave which even today is one of the most used platforms by the highest chair holders as well as the media to share information.

In these platforms, the wait time is less as the information collected by the media agencies are published then and there and new information pops up with just a refresh. Social media, being used mostly by the youth has brought about a revolution where the collective opinions are considered then to that of the agencies debating and reading out the news on television. Keeping the social media in mind, what is the difference in the way people saw it from then and now? What are the changes visible?

The changes visible in the world of media and people’s mentality.

People till the late 20th century relied upon newspapers for any information. There were high chances to make people believe any information without any proofs. But in today’s media world, there is not information which goes unnoticed. News is defendable as well as challengeable. Single service providers in those days have multiplied today and there are many news channels telecasting the same news in multiple ways. People who used to line up to watch the news have turned down their interest in news channels who mainly concentrate on the debates and discussion instead of choosing and delivering credible information. Citizens today prefer watching the instant news provided on the news apps on mobile phones than waiting for the advertisement to complete on a news channel. Youth today prefer reading the ‘top stories’ than the youth in those days who read the information in detail under a headline in the newspaper. In general, today people prefer quick news. But is this quick news credible? What freedom does the fourth pillar enjoy in our country? What are its positive and negative faces?

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