Understanding Media

Media is the plural form of the word ‘medium’ and it describes the various ways through which we communicate in society. Newspapers, magazines, television and Internet are all forms of media. The key functions of mass media are – advocacy, entertainment and public services and announcements. However, a lot of money is needed in mass media as it requires the latest technology. A lot of manpower is also required in a television studio to put the broadcast together. Mass media earns money by advertising different things like cars, chocolates, clothes, mobile phones, television, refrigerator, etc.

There are different types of media like print media, radio, television and internet. The first printed book was ‘Diamond Sutra’, printed in 868 AD in China. Johannes Gutenberg printed the first book in printing press in 1453. He printed the first sheet of Bible. The history of print media in India dates to 1780, with the publication of the Bengal Gazette from Calcutta. Radio broadcasting is a one-way sound broadcasting service, transmitted over radio waves. Audio broadcasting is done via cable FM, local wire networks, satellite and the internet. In British India, broadcasting started in June 1923, with programmes by the Radio Club of Bombay, followed by other radio clubs. All India Radio (AIR), officially known as Akashvani, is the radio broadcaster of India. It was established in 1936. Television combines audio and visual technology and thus, is considered the most effective form of mass media. Satellite TV offers the viewer a vast array of programme choices. The Internet or the web is an interactive medium of mass media. It is the worldwide network of interconnected computers that transmit information. It facilitates communication through e-mail, blogging, and social networking.

However, media is not always independent. When government either prevents a news item, or scenes from a movie, or the lyrics of a song from being shared with the larger public, it is referred to as censorship. In an authoritarian system, with strict government control over media, rulers decide what is to be published. An independent media is important for a democracy. Media is very helpful to the society. Recently, the media highlighted the presence of pesticides in popular cola drinks. But at times, media focuses only on events like fashion shows and ignores real issues like poverty and illiteracy.

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