In modern democracies, the fourth pillar, media has been assigned the role of cultivating unbiased public opinion. By doing so, power greedy elements can be punished. But, nowadays, in India, the credibility of media has been eroding so rapidly ever since the NDA government came in power. In this blog, “media ethics and modern democracies” I am going to discuss the media ethics in the light of Indian democracy.
Relations between ethics and power
Ethics is a certain set of principles or moral rules that determines what is right and wrong conduct or behaviour at work, in case of conflict of interests.
Though these moral principles are normative in nature and hardly legally binding, they have strong bearing on the conduct or working of the individual or institution in the society.
For example, use of technology by media to tell the truth in public and receive monetary benefit is ethically accepted and permitted.
But, using technology to manipulate videos and pictures to influence people to earn extra income on the name of professionalism isn’t ethically acceptable and permitted.
Role, values in behaviour of people
Values are universally accepted standards of desirability. Simply, values are certain yardsticks to determine the appropriateness of something.
In short, values determine the base level of quality of which something should be done or below which something should be avoided.
For example, in the modern democracies, media is trusted entity for authentic information and news, happening in the any nation. Accordingly, we minimum expect that such institutions should deliver unbiased things without fear and favour in the interest of public.
Role of media ethics in modern democracies
It is a set of moral principles and standards determining the conduct or behaviour of all types of media institutions while delivering services in the society.
For example, telling truth is the fundamental ethical duty of media. But, selling truth in favour of power is the grossly violation of principle of media ethics.
Now, it is gaining momentum due to huge money involved in this activity. And, once called the noble service, now has become lucrative business.
Violation of media ethics in India
Ever since the NDA government came in power, the incidents of violation of media ethics are growing unprecedently all over nation, ranging from electronic to print. Here, I am going to discuss some of the incidents. In last almost a decade, media fraternity in India played three major unassigned role in the Indian democratic system.
Media as a mute spectator
It is widely noticed that media remains as a mute spectator whenever the decisions taken by surprise decision maker becomes suicidal.
For better insight, I would like to recall the decision of demonetisation which forced people to beg for even their hard earned money. Initially aggressive media suddenly became silent when the grave fallouts started surfacing. During that period, lakhs of jobs were destroyed and liquidity crunch choked the demand in market, paving way for man-made recession. And, even today, Indian economy is struggling to recover from the lethal blow of surprise demonetisation.
We know that it is morally and naturally acceptable the role of media to support the decision of government in the interest of society not against.
Aggressive eugolizer of Prime Minister
Let it be the divisive politics, lynching incidents, and chaos of CAA and NRC, the Indian media aggressively propagated the single brand Prime Minister, citing the issue of national security.
These media institutions didn’t think over the genuine problems the citizens of nation facing during crisis. Instead, they are aggressively presenting the image of PM as messiah of nation, without any effective result.
In the period of coronavirus pandemic, whole media lobby was intensively highlighting the instructions given by Prime Minister through media. But, they suddenly became mute when the voices raised against the ill-timed decision of lockdowns.
Media as the manipulator
What we naturally expect is the bare truth about the activities happening in the nation through the fourth pillar of democracy. But, unfortunately, recently, the entire media coverage has been totally shifted from national issues to personal, or individual incidents of Bollywood. Isn’t it a deliberate drama to shift the public attention from the burning genuine issues of nation? Or, is it totally inability of leaders in power to deal with such issues effectively?
This is nothing but the innovative role of Indian media as a master manipulator to rotten the weakened root of democracy under the Bjp rule.
Media, the fourth pillar of democracy, is the natural interface between government and public to share problems and policies. It works properly as long as the medium remains unbiased and impartial; otherwise, any partiality may prove detrimental for both. There is an organic relationship between media and modern democratic system.