What media can do

  • Episode 8
  • 09-11-2022
  • 10 Min Read
What media can do

This is a live story quoted by our former president of India, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam. His purpose was to invite public attention towards the role of the media in rebuilding the nation. He was in a press conference which he held immediately after his return after a short visit to Israel. He said that the headlines of an Israelite daily one day was a coverage on a Jew who could change his piece of desert land into a beautiful lush garden. What that shook him most was the truth that the same day too, heavy fighting was going on in between Israel and Palestinian militants. What he meant was that the attitude of the media in India is seriously negative.

Every day, we get tips on innovative ideas being experimented, like a variety of moving machines that work on solar power, simple techniques to climb trees, home-brew choppers …. then about writers, painters, contesters, adventurists, incidents of selfless service …. Instead of highlighting any of these that would motivate the society to think, media here is surfing on minute war information or is busy exploring sex stories. Very recently, I happened to watch a two-minute video on a popular TV channel. It was on lashing waves. I think it was a waste of time and they were spoiling 41.6 working days, if it was watched by 10,000 people.

I have heard that it was writers and media who turned the French people in favour of a big uprising. It is not just Israelites only who have utilised the media creatively. Just take the example of the development of radios. Electromagnetic waves were greatly experimented in the late 19th century. In 1901

Marconi successfully made a wireless contact and in the same year a magazine, ‘Amateur Work’ from Montana had published a detailed article, ‘How to build a simple system based on Hertz’s early experiments. In 1906 the same magazine published an exclusive on two 8th grade Massachusetts boys, who built transmitters and contacted each other sitting 8 miles away. In 1910 came in the word radio. The media in the West discussed this idea in depth and when the first ship with a radio room in it sank in 1912, there were around 2000 live private radio transmitters working all around and it was an amateur that first heard the SOS message from the ship, the Titanic. This is just one example of the media helping to build nations.

Norman Vincent Peale, a very popular motivational speaker, frequently talked about an old big tree that fell. This particular tree in Colorado forest was proved to have withstood at least 15 heavy lightning strokes, and many landslides of varying magnitudes. It stood unaffected for at least 400 years. At last it fell, not because of any external forces, but because of a certain kind of tiny moth, which ate away its stump from inside. This he shares to highlight the impact of internal factors, which we consider irrelevant, spoiling personalities. Media, when behaving like a stump eating moth, damages all societies.

Every word we speak, every thought we entertain in mind, every deed we do … all have its role in shaping our society too.

Once we agree to decide that each word we use will responsibly be chosen, there begins a thorough transformation. Even an ocean is a collection of small drops and no single action is irrelevant in the making of Nations.

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