Chapter 6 Understanding Media
1. In what ways does media play an important role in a democracy?
Answer: Media play an important role in democracy in the following ways:
- They make the masses know about certain issues/problems.
- They propagate the policies and programmes of the government.
- They also criticise the unpopular policies and programmes of the government.
- They help in forming the opinion of the masses.
- They also report various crimes and mishappenings, accidents, etc.
- The media also announce the opinions of the public about certain issues/problems etc.
2. Can you give this diagram a title? What do you understand about the link between media and big business from this diagram?
Answer: A title to the above diagram may be given like this—Media and Big Business Houses. Big Business Houses attract people to promote their products through media. It is the best and the cheapest means to reach people at large.
3. You have read about the ways in which the media ‘sets the agenda’. What kind of effect does this have in a democracy? Provide two examples to support your point of view.
Media “setting an agenda” has an impact on democracy.
- By focusing on a particular issue the media influences our thoughts and feelings.
- It brings the core issues to light and sometimes even helps get justice for people.
- By setting an agenda, media creates awareness about certain wrongs or the illegal activities happening in the society and makes the government take action.
- Sometimes due to government pressure or due to the influence of big business houses, the balanced may not come out.
- For example: During and after the Commonwealth games media focused on the corruption in giving out the projects, more recently the “Coalgate” issue.
- Bring to light the amount of money secretly stashed in Swiss banks.
4. As a class project, decide to focus on a particular news topic and cut out stories from different newspapers on this. Also, watch the coverage of this topic on TV news, compare two newspapers and write down the similarity—and differences in their reports. It might help to ask the following questions:
(a) What information is this article providing?
(b) What information is it leaving out?
(c) From whose point of view is the article being written?
(d) Whose point of view is being left out and why?
Answer: Students are suggested to do this project themselves.
VERY SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS
1. Name various forms of communication.
Answer: Radio, television, newspapers, the Internet.
2. What does the word ‘media’ mean?
Answer: Radio, television, newspapers, the Internet, and several other forms of communication are collectively known as media.
3. Mention any one positive aspect of television.
Answer: Television has enabled us to think of ourselves as members of a larger global world.
4. Mention one way in which the mass media earns money.
Answer: The mass media earns money by advertising different things like cars, clothes, tea, etc.
5.Why are some advertisements shown repeatedly on the television screen? [V. Imp.]
Answer: Same advertisements are shown repeatedly on the television screen just to make people’s minds to go out and buy what is advertised.
6. What are the various ways through which people express their dissatisfaction to any of the government’s decision which does not go in their favour?
Answer: They do so by writing letters to the concerned minister, organising a public protest, starting a signature campaign and asking the government to rethink its programme, etc.
7. What do you mean by a balanced report? [V. Imp.]
Answer: A balanced report is one that discusses all points of view of a particular story and then leaves it to the readers to make up their minds.
8. Why is it necessary for the media to be independent?
Answer: Only then media can write a balanced report.
9. Why does media sometimes focus on a particular aspect of a story?
Answer: It is because the media believes that this will make the story interesting.
10. What does the media’s close relationship with business often mean?
Answer: It means that the media will fail to give a balanced report.
SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS
1. How has television brought the world closer to us?
Answer: Television images travel huge distances through satellites and cables. This allows us to view news and entertainment channels from other parts of the world. We see cartoons on our television set which are mostly from Japan and the United States. We can be sitting in Delhi and can see images of Barak Obama’s oath ceremony in the United States. Thus, television has enabled us to think of ourselves as members of a larger global world.
2. Most television channels and newspapers are part of big business houses. Why? [V. Imp.]
Answer: The technologies that mass media use keep changing and so a lot of money is spent on getting the latest technology. The TV studio in which the newsreader sits has lights, cameras, sound recorders, transmission satellites etc. All of these cost a lot of money.
One thing more, it is not only the newsreader who needs to be paid but also a number of other people who help put the broadcast together. Due to these costs, mass media needs a great deal of money to do its various works. As a result, most television channels and newspapers are part of big business houses.
3. What do you mean by an independent media? Why is it important for the media to be independent? [V. Imp.]
Answer: An independent media means that no one should control and influence its coverage of news. No one should tell the media what can be included and what should not be included in a news story. It means that the media should not be under any one’s pressure. It will be totally independent. An independent media is very important because it is on the basis of the information that the media provides that we take action as citizens. Hence, it essential that this information is reliable. It should be biased at all.
LONG ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS
1. Write a brief note on ‘local media’.
Answer: Local media covers small Issues that involve ordinary people and their daily lives. It is usually started by local groups. Several people use community radio to tell farmers about the prices of different crops and advise them on the use of seeds and fertilisers. Others make documentary films with fairly cheap and easily available video cameras on real-life conditions faced by different poor communities and, at times, have even given the poor these video cameras to make films on their own lives.
Khabar Lahriya is also a local newspaper. It is a fortnightly that is run by eight Dalit women in the Chitrakoot district in Uttar Pradesh. It is written in the local language, Bundeli. This eight-page newspaper covers the Dalit issues and cases of violence against women and political corruption. This newspaper is popular among farmers, shopkeepers, panchayat members, school teachers, and women who have recently become literate.
2. How can you say that media is far from freedom? Or why do most newspapers still fail to provide a balanced story? [V. Imp.]
Answer: It is said that media is often controlled by business houses. Media does what these business houses wish. At times, it is in the interest of these businesses to focus on only one side of the story. The media is in constant need of money.
Hence, it is essential for media to get linked, it is with advertising groups. In such a situation it is difficult for media to report against people who give them advertisements. Its close links to big business houses snatch its independence. It has to do as per the wishes of these business houses, Media also tends to focus on a particular aspect of a story because they believe this makes the story interesting.
One thing more, if they want to increase public support for an issue, they often do this by focusing on one side of a story. Thus, it is difficult to say that the media is independent.