To everyone who is sick and tired of journalists yelling at you with fake reports, hear me out. I’m sorry we have media that fails in doing its fundamental duty – safeguarding democracy. I’m also sorry that you are made to feel anxious after listening to the 9am news bulletin. I apologise that you have to see disturbing images and videos on your TV just because some journalist forgot to take ethics seriously.
Now that we’ve set our apologies right, allow me to state what I’m not sorry for.
We live in 2020. We’ve experienced our bit of the tragedy with pandemic but during this crisis, we cannot help but criticise the media. Its loud, biased, untrue and most importantly, annoying.
Then why do we still switch on our TVs? Why do we endure something we know isn’t factual in the first place? Because living without news, if you aren’t ignorant, is impossible. We feed off of news on a daily basis. Our conversations are based off of prime time news. Our petrol prices, taxes, government mood swings are all told to us by the news. So how does something so fundamental to public get off hand?
It’s as simple as this – The news you receive isn’t functioning for you because it isn’t run by you. You believe you are entitled to good quality and fair news because you pay your cable bills and subscribe to the cheapest available daily, allow me to snap you out of your bubble.
You get a newspaper for as cheap as 5 rupee to a maximum of 15 rupee. There is no way that any organisation can hire journalists, buy equipments, carry out the printing, rent out an office and carry out investigation or even simple daily reports with that tiny sum of money. This is where advertisers come in. Why do you have sheets and sheets of advertisements of digital sales every morning staring at you? Because they help the organisation survive.
When you, as public, are not ready to pay a higher subscription rate to the press, how can you expect them to work in your interest?
Now a possible solution that you may have found is – government subsidies. Good argument. While governments fund the military and take interest in this investment, one can only see a handful of governments doing the same for their press. Now I don’t mean that the governments don’t pay the press to have their preferred narrative. What I mean is, government subsidies work as a functional model only if the model is mandatory to all news organisations with the exception of any government involvement in the news stories. Otherwise, the press turns into what it is now -a mouth piece of the government.
We have our right to speech, or rather, we had. The real problem with the mainstream media today is that it makes the ones who aren’t aware of its financial spine, believe its radical ideas. So when a left wing funded daily presents news to you, you have no access to the other side of the story. This is where caste issues, religious ideas and community conflicts stem. So the next time you expect to see a good journalist, prepare to fund their process. Because writing what is fair, what the government wants to hide from you, keeping the sense of democracy alive, is not possible without money.
Also remember, it is mainstream because you make it. There are smaller independent media organisations who try to bring way less radical reports but it is because you are unwilling to try out and support such organisations that we are stuck in this loop together.
Incase you’re willing to pay for the quality news, here are some sights that can help you understand how impactful a functional media can be –
Side Note : Take some time to understand how they’re funded. If they have a particular ideology. Take time to understand the media and then accept the information. This helps you become aware and not manipulated.