The media is very popularly referred to as “The Fourth Estate”, emphasizing its importance in the society. It plays a very important role in educating, empowering and enlightening the common masses.
But it seems that the media is falling short of its duties, because instead of being perceived as the institution that brings to light the plight of the masses, it has come to be seen as an organization that adds to the miseries of the public.
The minute you tell someone that you belong to the field of media, they get very cautious of talking to you. They refuse to divulge any information with you and absolutely deny to reveal personal details. Journalists these days find it difficult to cover feature stories or profiles, because a lot of people are now afraid of getting their photos published in newspapers. Gone are the days when people were eager to get their name published in the newspapers and felt honoured when their photos were taken by media personalities.
Today, as a part of my media studies assignment, I was supposed to take an interview of a food stall owner. It was a simple, straightforward interview regarding their life in general and the competition they face. It was certainly not a sting operation. So, I went to the biggest bus station in town, feeling pretty confident that I would be able to interview at least one of the many thousand vendors in and around the place. So, I went and started talking to the food stall owners one at a time. Initially, they were happy to give me basic details about their lives, but the moment I told them that I am a media student, the suddenly, just shut up. They refused to give me any details about the competition they face and everyone told me something along the lines of,
“Mam, everything is good here. We are happy. Please don’t write about us in the newspaper, or else we will get into trouble with the police.”
That was when I realised the extent of fear media produces in the mind of the common man today.
Thus, if the media wants to truly claim its title as the “Spokesperson Of The People”, it needs to become more accountable to the people.