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II.5.3.6 Media and social change

Media is the means through which information is transmitted and plays a major role in development and change within the society. While it has been influencing Indian society in the form of print media, radio, television since pre independence times, the recent development of internet enlarged it’s role. It aids the changes in social, cultural and political spheres.

Cultural sphere : Media has contrasting roles in cultural sphere.

 – On one hand, media exposure accelerates the process of cultural change by acquainting new things around the world which are added to the culture. It could bring change in day to day activities like modes of consumption, style if dress, use of synthetic materials etc.It sometimes poses threat of loss of culture.

 – On the other hand media has a role in preservation and continuity of culture by writing or depicting about various cultural elements and practices which are otherwise unknown to people.

 – Media through the above processes causes a kind of cultural integration between value systems of tradition and modernity thus bringing different people closer. Sociologists call this ‘cultural resilience’.

Social sphere: There could be positive as well as negative aspects.

 – With the increasing access to media like TV and internet, they play an increasingly important role in the socialisation of young. Development of values, beliefs and attitudes are shaped by these.

 – Imparting knowledge, new skills and techniques, media can help enlarge mental horizons of people. It can be used to raise levels of aspirations.

 – By exposing negative aspects within the society like violence against women, media can help stir up a debate over traditional stereotypic thinking, causing a positive change in the outlook of people.

 – Exposing the failures of existing systems in catering to needs of all and highlighting positive works done by NGOs and other groups, media can inspire people towards greater social participation.

 – Rapid growth of social media through internet creates a virtual world which could grow out of bounds affecting real world activities. It could also cause social and psychological problems.

 – With the influence of cosmopolitan culture through media, values of sharing, collaboration, harmony decline and tension in society may increase.

Political sphere:

 – Media plays an important role in bringing awareness among people regarding political issues as well as their rights. This helps in betterment of disadvantaged sections who could now demand for their entitlements.

 – By drawing attentions to institutional failures such as corruption, nepotism, inefficiency etc., media can pressurise governments for improving quality of governance.

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