Can you imagine life without TV?, or without computers, the internet, radio, newspapers, or any other form of media? Just imagine a day in your life, without any form of media, how would it feel? We all will have to agree that beyond doubt, life really would be miserable, and so, even though we may not realize it, but the media has become a very important part of our lives.
The media, whether electronic, or printed, is a great convenience to us. It enriches our lives by either informing, educating or entertaining us. It is huge way of conveying public views and opinion to the world, and it promotes freedom of press and speech. The word ‘Media’ is described in the Oxford English Dictionary as, “Newspapers, radio and television, which convey information to the public”.
The media on its own, does no harm to anybody. It is the society, the people that choose what they want to watch, hear and read. All the media does is conveys the information to you, it is you that decides to watch it, to understand it and to go by it. Take the TV for example, on its own, it is just like a box, it doesn’t control you, it is you that chooses to plug it in, to turn it on and to watch whatever you do. And, you also have the remote in your hand, so if you don’t like what you’re watching, you can always change it.
According to The World Bank, World Development Report, 1999, one of the great hardships endured by the poor, and by many others who live in the poorest countries, is their sense of isolation. The new communication technologies promise to reduce that sense of isolation, and to open access to knowledge in ways unimaginable not long ago.
“The media can create a climate for development. …the media can contribute substantially to the amount and kinds of information available to the people of a developing country.”
The media, in whichever form, provides us with a lot of convenience and comfort that would not be available without it. Lets consider a few examples:
The internet is a form of electronic media that provides us with all the information that we need, from every corner of the world, in every language and on every topic. It is very cheap (as low as a shilling a minute) and can be accessed from anywhere (cyber cafes or home computers). You can find the information directly from a search engine unlike books, where you would have to flip through hundreds of pages until you found what you were looking for. Information can be continuously changed and updated. It can provide more in-depth specialist information than, say, a newspaper article because they aren’t restricted by space. It can also be used by disabled people with ease.
Television is another form of media. Information is broadcasted by a cable connection and is available as multi-media (sound and pictures). Television provides us with everything we need, from news, to educational programs to movies. It is a great way of relaxing. It provides a wide variety of information and entertainment. You can watch all the greatest events going on around the world, live, directly from your own house, without having to actually go to place where the event is taking place. You can also watch the world latest breaking news, or watch live debates and sports or movies, at very cheap costs. Other advantages are: good mass-market coverage; low cost per exposure; combines sight, sound, and motion; appeals to the senses
Radio is form of media whereby, information is broadcasted in the form of sound. It is very good way of conveying public opinion and can accessed from everywhere, at any time, e.g. in your car, at your home, in your office and almost everywhere else. It is probably the cheapest for of media, (after newspapers) for handheld radio sets can be purchased for very cheap prices and you don’t have to pay anything to get connected.
It involves the participation of the public (e.g. in live talkshows where public opinion comes into action), and it also gives the public a chance to talk to celebrities that they would not be able to without the radio. It can be used everywhere, even in rural areas, where there is no electricity or no connecion for internet or cable-tv is available. Since information is not in visual form, it is perfectly suitable for children unlike in TVs, where children can spoil their eyes if they watch for long periods of time. Other advantages are: good local acceptance; high geographic and demographic selectivity
Newspapers are the most common form of media, or ‘Press’ as it is more commonly referred to.
Some of their advantages are: flexibility; timeliness; good local market coverage; broad acceptability; high believability.
Newspapers continue to provide a means of reaching a large audience in a city, town or region. You can reach a specific audience by selecting the best location within a newspaper. They are the cheapest and most easily available form of media. They contain lots of information about what is going on in the current world, sports news, leisure activities and many more.
These include, radios, mobile phones, telephones faxes, etc. They provide great convenience to us as information is sent to the right person without being distorted or changed. You can use mobile phones to communicate with people on the other side of the world, wherever you are.
In general, we depend on the media for many of our comforts in life. And of course, as everything that has a good side to it, also has a bad side, the media does, sometimes affect us in a negative way, such as when children are left unsupervised to watch TV, they may watch violent and unsuitable programs which may induce voilence in real life. Also, over the internet, there is not always enough security and hackers may get your information and may blackmail you in return.
But, come to think of it, do the disadvantages really outweigh the advantages? Does the media really pose a threat to the society? I think, after reading all this information, we can without doubt say that the media does more good than bad to the society, and after all, it is you who decides what to watch, not you TV set, so you can either decide to use the media to enrich your knowledge, or to make your life head in the wrong direction, the choice is yours.