Media – Left, Right or Neutral?

Graphic by Aashana Kapoor

The selection of news channels decides if the union budget for the upcoming financial year is beneficial or disastrous. It seems a bit strange that a fact too can have more than one interpretation which is supposed to be the case with literature only. A fact when served with bias, according to agenda can only be compared to literature. This is one of the most dangerous phenomena happening around us. Media, which in its inception days was trusted by millions for the only source of news is considered as an entertainment platform now.

Digging deeper into the reason behind this ruckus, one has to inspect at the origin point. Taking the case of an electronic media, it is managed by large media houses which requires a lot of money to run, from salaries of numerous staff to fee of the allotted spectrum. This creates a space for investment, and like any other barter system, media houses also start to deliver service instead of news through their news channels.

Media was meant to present facts to the crowd and then leave scope for interpretation by individuals. But the trends have changed. Now one wonders if the news channel is just serving one news or something else. Most of the time news is buried under a pile of advertisement and bias. It is said that the concept of advertisement which was introduced to generate revenue and keep the channels running, has taken over the original purpose of keeping people informed.

As a country of 1.3 billion people, our country is a very good market for any manufacturer be it local or global. Hence there is a need for bias. Also, marketing is very important for any product. To tap a large market potential, at a low cost and a good deliverable, media serves as a win-win for opportunists. In this war of bias, the goal is the agenda. Who’s agenda wins is the ultimate winner and can walk away with huge profits.

Apart from this, there are several other benefits to reap when you have direct access to this size of consumers. Some of it is access to power corridors, preferential treatments and an illusion of being the kingmaker.

Now the question is what is at stake here!

People’s TRUST. Media has earned it by sustained effort over a very long period but now it is over the downward slope and every passing day is making it difficult for them to get it back.

Media is losing their credibility amongst informed masses and the rest is getting misinformed, divided and directionless.

Media plays a vital role in any democracy. They have to realize the power they have along with the responsibility on their shoulder to keep the nation united. They have the power to expose a harmful nexus but the responsibility to do it in a way which is not hampering people’s faith in any democratic institutions and without affecting the nation’s integrity

It will be unfair to blame the entire mishap with the media over money. We must take into account- Integrity. We are lucky that there are still humans sitting behind the table, making decisions, having a conscience. Some load has to be shared by the decision-makers for the decisions they take without showing sympathy for the reasons that led to the decision.

So it has been established without an iota of doubt that there is bias in the media, there are reasons it is continuously swelling in size and adversely affecting the society. 

Now there has to be a solution. Till now everyone perceived the source of money to be the only factor responsible for the bias in the media. To uproot this an idea started to take shape named as crowdfunded media.  A lot of these are running and few weren’t able to sustain. But it was again observed that despite getting funds from people directly, they couldn’t remain unbiased. The folks started to realize that it was not about money. It was really about human behaviour.

So one can be hopeful that only if we have Artificial Intelligence bots behind the desk, we might be able to see the media getting back to its original position. Erica, the news anchor bot from Japan was appreciated. We will need more of it in the coming future to watch the news peacefully in our living rooms.

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