Saturday, 16 January, 2021
How media is shaping our societies

How media is shaping our societies
By: Muhammad Waqas Khan

Media has conceived the world a global village. The current era is considered to be the era of media since it is perceived as the 4th de facto pillar of any state. Media has not only changed the lives of the peoples across the globe but is constantly shaping their values, beliefs and opinions thus acting as modifier on one side and manipulator on the other end.

In past ages, media was confined only to broadcasting media and print media. In recent time with the dawn of 21st century, the surge of social media has altogether changed the world in multifarious perspectives. Thus now social media is also considered a vital and living part of media.

Media is a broad term. Its sub categories include broadcasting media, print media and social media. Each of the them, having the opportunity of level playing field, are playing their due role in sundry societies around the world.

The word media is derived from the word ‘medium’ which means mode or carrier. It is broadly used to address and reach a targeted audience to achieve its set goals. Being an essential tool in today’s world, media is deemed to be the sword of democracies. In all societies media is playing an all embracing role.

As media is now divided into different types- broadcasting media, print media and social media- all of them shaping the societies according to their outreach and access to target audience.

Broadcasting media:

Any media that is broadcasted is called broadcasting media. It is said to be the most traditional, though not oldest, form of media. It is in electronically transmitted via signal to distant audience and audience in proximity. In 99% cases this term refers to TV and Radio.

Technically, the broadcast media does include internet, Bluetooth marketing and other forms of location based transmission but in mass communication, broadcast media is perceived only as TV and Radio transmissions’ perspective.

With the arrival of AM radio, the broadcasting began its journey around 1920 with the spread of vacuum tube radio transmitters and receivers while television broadcasting started its career in 1930s.

From the perspective of marketing, it will include only TV and Radio advertising.

The broadcast media renders valuable information such as speeches, interviews, advertisements, daily news and financial markets.

Print media:

Print media is that media in which written material is used to disseminate news. In this type of media, the medium is used to be newspapers, magazines and periodicals. It is the oldest form of media as well as communicating message in sophisticated form between human beings.

It was very wide spread during the 19th and 20th century but with the arrival of sundry and advance technology like broadcast media and social media, the efficiency and importance of print media, if not altogether got eliminated, has decreased.

Social media:

It is a forum where people share their content as well are able to post comments on different posts, blogs and articles.  Through websites and applications, people are able to share their content on prompt basis. This media includes Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, Snap Chat, Bingo and thousands of other websites and applications.

Role of media in society:

Media today plays a crucial role in all societies. Its works and roles varies from society to society but one thing is for sure: to make a society great in its values, customs, traditions and laws is the core aim of any media outlet anywhere in the world.

Media thus plays different kind of roles in societies: persuasion, propaganda campaigns, socialization, shaping public opinion and educating masses in the society.

One of the most important role of mass media as it persuades masses with its constant publishing and airing messages, Ads, editorials, columns, features, documentaries, and live programmes on sundry subjects related to different parts of life. This way media not only persuades its target audience but also changes the perceptions about different life activities and events.

People will go for vegetables if constant messages and Ads are poured in about the benefits of vegetables and ill effects of junk food. The messages however, must be poured in on daily basis by media outlets.

If media programmes are conducted and the thinkers, analysts and opinion makers seem to favor a party indirectly, people will for sure vote for that very party in elections since masses on one side do not poses the critical thinking power and on the other side are constantly been persuaded by the media to vote for a political party though in an indirect way.

Persuasion can be divided further into three categories:

Practical persuasion:

This is the primary form of persuasion. In this form of persuasion, the bribery is rendered to buy something to win something big. Like buyers are persuaded to buy a product which can let them hit the jackpot in one way or the other. The coupon, rebate or gift is offered in this form of persuasion by the commercial companies to allure buyers. Like a Coupon of car in teabag, a 12 gram of gold Coupon in a pack of chocolate, An Umrah ticket in beverages, etc.

Emotional persuasion:

In this form of persuasion, the buyer is persuaded by the media using an exaggerating manner. A product and its benefits are presented in very exaggerating manner.

If a medicine is presented, the media would highlight it as if it could cure all the human ills in a matter of time. For this purpose, ads are used by the media. Usually local based companies used these techniques using the medium of mass media to allure buyers.

The Ads of owing lands and dwellings against very cheap prices in some very expensive areas is another example of emotional persuasion.

Associative persuasion:

In this kind of persuasion, people are made to believe something which they want to. This form of persuasion is all about adopting short cut way to get what a buyer of the product wants. This is usually used in beauty creams, obesity related products and health related products.

The Ads of whitening creams changing a dark complexion into fair complexion within 14 days is the prime example.

Another example is the Ad of product about reducing very fat belly and transforming it in 6 pack abs by using that very particular product is another example.

Cultivation of perception:

Media air and publish ideas and information on sundry subjects on daily basis again and again. This ultimately shape the perception of target audiences about particular subjects, events, cultures, values, norms, races, ethnicities, trends, fashions, languages and countries. This is done through publishing of articles, columns, airing documentaries, programmes, interviews, special features by newspapers, movies, songs, theatre performances, dramas etc.

  1. The English is the only language to success.
  2. The killing of indian soldiers by freedom fighters and to present freedom fighters as terrorist by Indian media.
  3. The depiction of Muslims as terrorist by western media.

Media and Propaganda:

Propaganda means to disseminate information used for the promotion of certain point of view. This is undertaken by all kind of media: broadcasting, print and social media. This influences the behavior, opinions and thinking of the target audiences. Development of opinions in target audiences is undertaken by this technique of mass media like who to vote. It is often used by one party against the other, by political bigots, by advertising companies against the other one. This technique is considered one of the biggest source of earning for media outlets. There are few negative propagandas which are as under:

Bandwagon propaganda:

This encourages the target audience to support an idea since everyone is following and supporting it.

Like most Americans want change or most of the people want a change in the status-quo of politics.

Generalities propaganda:

It is about using words and phrases that sounds good but are too complicated and broad to mean much: “Patriotism Matters”.

Name calling or mudslinging propaganda:

This is used by a candidate of a party against his/ her opponent to hurt his/her reputation.

The case of illegitimate daughter, according to his political opponents, of Imran Khan used by his opponents as well as his alienation from Islam and his play boy career during his early ages.

Stacking the deck propaganda:

It is used to exaggerate an issue by telling only partial truth about an issue or event.

Media and socialization:

Media highlights the values, cultures, norms, customs, traditions of heterogeneous societies around the world. This way the audience and masses develop analysis via comparing different cultures and traditions on one side and on the other side they get to know the sundry cultures, traditions and norms across the world. This ultimately promotes the socialization in the masses in intra and inter manner.

Revealing the injustices in society:

Every society is full of weak and power segments. The weak usually fall prey to the power and becomes the victim of the injustice of the powerful people or haves.

The first example is Sharukh Jatoi from Sindh province who almost escape with the murder of an innocent citizen, Shahzeb Khan. Media brought this issue to the spot light and state designated his crime a crime against the State. Thus he was apprehended, though he forcibly made the family of the deceased to keep quite since he belongs to a powerful family of Sindh. But he got apprehended and now is in jail because of the prompt role of the media in that case.

Second example is the case of Khadeeja. She was stabbed around 23 times by her class mate, Shah Hussain, for not marrying her. Happily, she did not get murdered. The Lahore High Court on the basis of no sufficient evidence released the assaulter, Shah Hussain. When the news came to the media, it, media, not only highlight the issue to the full extent but also made sure the arrest of her attacker. Lately the attacked was given 5-year imprisonment by the court for stabbing her.

Media shapes public opinion in the society:

Media shapes public opinion as time passes. The presentation of anything again and again with its multifarious effects make the people to form opinion about it: it could be either negative or positive.

Private schools are much better than publics ones. The constant effort by private school owners while using the forum of media to convince a big chunk of public that in order to make your off springs more enlighten the best education to confer on to your children can be found in private schools.

Media this way not only form opinions but changes the conceptions and perception of people via debates, cross talks, speeches, advertisement, statements, recordings, songs, movies and discussions: though it takes some time.

Politicians also use media to shape and alter public opinions by constantly disseminating messages related to their conceived policies: more focus on greener side of the policies.

To educate people about their rights and duties:

A large chunk of population in rural areas, of third world countries especially.  happen to be oblivious to their rights and duties because of the prevalent illiteracy. Media not only educate them of their basic human and fundamental rights but also about their constitutional rights and duties. This way good, informed and responsible citizens come to the fore.

Masses usually do not know about their right of free education and health. Heavy prices are paid by a big chuck of masses to avail these facilities in third world countries. This ultimately means that people are not cognizant of the power of their vote.

Media not only make them aware of the power of their vote as their duty to use them to flush the corrupt and incapable politicians but also apprise them of their basic rights; education, health etc. This way sincere and honest politicians, who come up with best beneficial policies for the country, come to the top by the vote of the people.

To inform elected of the grievances of the electorate:

 Media works as a medium to keep the elected aware about the daily issues of their electorate. Since incumbent governmental officials, once elected, happen to find no time for the solution of the grievances of their electorate. Media inform the governmental official nowadays round the clock about the issues like unemployment, congested traffic, water scarcity, sanitation, security, inflation, deteriorating situation of local bodies councils etc.

To keep inform people about the happening and develop critical and analytical analysis in the masses of a society through interpretation of events analytically and critically:

Media keep the people informed about the happenings in their proximity and the current events and news all around the world. Be it the success of Trump or Mahathir Muhammad in elections, be it the horrendous killings of innocents in a mosque of New Zeeland, be it the terrorist attack in Delhi on Taj Mahal hotel, be it the Ebola virus as epidemic in south and north Africa, be it Tsunami, be it the attack of USA on Afghanistan and Iraq, be it the attack of young Muslim boy on a person who was trying to burn Quran, the holy book of Muslims, in Norway, be it the chilling temperature in Oymyakon, the far distant region of Russia, the mass shootings in New York, or the election of Imran Khan as prime minister, the re-election of Narendra Modi or the Killing of a young freedom fighter, Burhan Wanni, media has kept informed the masses about every development in the world.

This way people are not only cognizant of the late happening but gradually they develop critical analysis since media forums hold discussions on different topic happening around the world. For this purpose, renowned analysists, thinkers and opinion makers. Cross talks are held and every event and its possible repercussions are discussed by these thinkers in an impartial manner.


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