Question 1: In what ways does the media play an important role in a democracy?
Answer: Media gives news and discusses events that are happening in the entire world. Based on this people can understand how the government is functioning. These news stories are the basis on which people in a democracy can take action against the government’s policies and decisions by organizing public protests, starting signature campaigns etc thereby asking the government to rethink its decisions.
Question 2: Can you give this diagram a title? What do you understand about the link between media and big business from this diagram?
Fig Ref: NCERT Book Class 7 Political Science
Answer: The title to this diagram is The money cycle in business
This diagram shows that the money that the big business houses spend on advertising their products on media flows back to them. This happen by way of the purchases made by the people after watching/reading/hearing the advertisements of the products on TV /newspapers/radio. This cycle is a continuous process.
Question 3: You have read about the ways in which the media sets the agenda. What kind of effect does this have in a democracy? Provide two examples to support your point of view.
Answer: Media decides what news to focus on. It therefore influences the thinking and the action of the people. Since people are an integral part of democracy, their thought processes and actions influence the overall working of the government. For example there was a media report on the high levels of lead and MSG (a food additive) in a popular brand of instant noodles. This has made people aware and cautious regarding the health hazards of consumption of instant noodles.
As a class project, decide to focus on a particular news topic and cut out stories from different newspapers on this. Also watch the coverage of this topic on TV news. Compare two newspapers and write down the similarity and differences in their reports. It might help to ask the following questions:
(a) What information is this article providing?
Answer: A road accident in which a pedestrian gets killed while crossing the road.
(b) What information is it leaving out?
Answer: All the media are blaming the car driver only. Nobody is thinking about why the pedestrian was crossing the road without waiting for pedestrian signal.
(c) From whose point of view is the article being written?
Answer: All articles are apparently catering to the sentiments regarding the rich and poor divide.
(d) Whose point of view is being left out and why?
Answer: It is leaving the problems which drivers face while negotiating through busy traffic. It is ignoring the high level of stress through which most of the drivers may be going. Creating sensationalism and dishing out a popular fare can be the reason.
Question 1: What do you understand by independent media? Is the media actually independent and unbiased?
Answer: The term independent in the context of media means that there should be no control or influence on the coverage of news by them. In other words, nobody should have a say in what should and should not be included in a particular news report. An independent media would give reliable and unbiased news.
In reality, media is not independent. This is because the Government has a lot of influence on media. There have been times when the government has censored the media.
- Business houses control the media and it is in their interest if the media highlights only one side of the story.
- The dependence of the media on advertisements for revenue deters it from reporting against people who give them advertisements.
- For making a news interesting and increasing the public support for an issue, media tends to highlight on only one side of the story.
Question 2: Describe local media.
Answer: Since media will not be interested in covering small issues that involve the lives of ordinary people, many local groups have come up with their own media. This is called local media. Some examples of these are:
- Community radio: These are used to tell farmers about the prices of different crops and to give many other valuable inputs to them.
- Documentary films: These are low budget films and focus on the real–life conditions of different poor communities.
- Khabar Lahriya: It is a newspaper which is a fortnightly that is run by Dalit women in Chitrakoot district of Uttar Pradesh. It reports the issues of the Dalits. It has its reach to the farmers, shopkeepers, school teachers, panchayat members and literate women.
Question 3: Write a note on media and democracy.
Answer: Since a democracy refers to the concept of of the people, by the people and for the people, the elected representatives are accountable to the people. Media plays an important role in disseminating information about events happening in the country and the world. Based on this information, people are able to understand how the government is working, how much it has fulfilled its promises and where it is lagging behind. People can express their views/ suggestions and take action against the government based on the media reports.