Introduction to Mass Communication MCM 101
CRITICISM ON MEDIA
Mass media has been having its influence on societies in a number of ways. Due to its colossal
impact in shaping up the society it at the same time faces severe criticism from all around. People who resist
change in lifestyle and social norms are not seeing the mass media as doing more service to society as it is
In previous chapters we have studied how the media has been beneficial in pushing up economic activities,
boosting literacy and bringing about political awareness and democracy. Here below we will examine what
areas of mass communication are target of general criticism.
Conceals more than it reveals
The foremost charge on the media, especially the news media, is that it only tells people half-truth.
Better part of a story is falling victim to gate-keepers or those who filter facts before passing them on to
common people. At crisis times like wars or political chaos media only tells facts which the interest groups
want to appear before masses. Media hardly believe, or make an effort, to tell the whole truth about any
matter of general interest. Leaving people guessing about the untold part of the story is tantamount to
It has become a habit of media to blow up out of proportion some issues of sensitive nature which
creates so much panic among the people (authorities) who than instead finding a lasting solution of those
issues just try to hush up the matters. Government departments and many other agencies which counter
these situations frequently are finding no way out to stop media from doing so.
Perhaps the most commonly leveled charge against media is its chronic approach to sensationalize
matters of routine life. In a murder story the media would go to find some juicy thing out of nothing. A
small tip from any person around may make a media person to build a spicy story which may attract
common people. More than often, the facts on which media build story prove wrong by later investigations.
Film world and leading sportspersons are always worried as media would quickly fabricate a story on finding
a small bit of something like shaking hands with certain people by a film star; - think if a top police officer
inviting a noted film personality over a cup of tea a storm is likely to be made in the media.
Damages cultural and family traditions
The way certain things appear in the mass media is seen a direct attack on peoples' lifestyle, belief
and normal social life. Bold pictures of women in the name of esthetics, out of proportion images of
sportspersons again women especially, behaviour of characters in a radio or TV drama, dances in films
and smoking and drinking actions all have invited severe disapproval of common people who strongly
argue that such an attitude of media is hurting the cultural norms and the family set up. As a result people
do not allow certain TV channels be tuned, or some magazines to be dropped at their homes. Certain music
is not liked to be played at family gatherings and there is always uproar when an offensive or bold billboard
appears on a busy thoroughfare.
Media bias at times is too clear to be ignored. Siding with political parties, or showing despise to
certain government functionaries, at times persons like ministers is a common sight. But it works both
sides; the government controlled media in all the countries show a visible tilt towards the government while
giving a bashing to the opposition and on the other hand private sector media newspapers and TV
channels, remain occupies to lash out at the government actions and allowing the opposition to drag
matters in the public which should have been talked about in the parliament. The media bias some time is
visible on regional, ethnic and linguistic grounds only damaging a society rather than bringing people closer.
Sold to interest groups
Introduction to Mass Communication MCM 101
This is generally done covertly. Media is under fire all across the world for selling space to interest
groups-political people in the developing countries and the economic interests in the advanced countries.
Commercialism-trend is to mislead people
Although it is little modern phenomenon, media is largely considering its commercial interest more
than what common people expect from it on pure professional ground. With huge money given to media
by way of, generally speaking, advertisements are one way of molding media in the favour of rich. Media
can't openly say against individuals and corporate sector even if a scam of billions of rupees (and dollars)
takes place. Land grabbers, tax evaders and the ones misappropriating authority can easily gag media with
Pictures of killings unethical
True it may be but sometime revealing a fact in an ugly manners leave a bad taste in the mouth of
many. Large part of media blatantly refutes to follow ethics which may cause intense pain to common
people. At the time of breakfast when you are starting the day, if you find body of a slain person dipped in a
pool of blood is enough to haunt you all day at your working place. Not only this, some headlines which
describe a crime in most horrible way also leave a mark on your mind which remains occupied by the ugly
side of the event which could have been easily avoided had media followed professional way of putting
forward the matter.
Private life, obscenity
All people, including the ones living in hall-of-fame have a private life. Media for its personal
interest keep peeping into the private life affairs of famous people and report matters to public which may
ruin life of the stars. Female coming at the top of show biz are the most-hunted target. Media does not
hesitate in playing up their images which look highly offensive if put on newspapers or magazines pages, no
matter those poses were meant for a momentary demand for certain actions during a shoot of feature films
or even a commercial camerawork.
Media is blamed for blackmailing even strongest of governments. At times autocratic governments
find no way but get blackmailed by popular media. Little wonder if there is a general perception that media
stand for arm-twisting of people who are at the helm of political or financial authority.
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