Media, although deals with the public infotainment, is an industry that requires a huge amount of money to invest. Media is public service industry, therefore people rely on the media for the fulfillment of their need of information. In the modern days information is power. If a person owns strong media houses, s/he can have good influence in economy, society and politics of a county or region. There is equal chance of making wrong use of media if the power influenced upon the society.
There are four basic things that may make wrong use of media which are sensationalism, yellow journalism, propaganda and media bias.
Propaganda is to flow information about any organization or party. It can be good or bad. Propaganda in a sense is a tool of marketing to politicians. It is a tool of advertisement. Therefore, media can be misused by spreading propaganda in favour of particular group or person.
Yellow journalism is another example of misuse of media. The term ‘Yellow Journalism’ was coined in the late 19th century in America which means making intentional biased news reporting upon any matter. Yellow journalism can insult people’s social life.
Inappropriate content, using misinterpreted photographs, paparazzo and insult of person etc is yellow journalism. This is a type of media misuse.
Inability of reporting the truth because of the biasness of the particular media house is media bias. We can see plenty of examples of media bias in the media of Nepal. Almost every media is inclined towards a political ideology or a party which report very little against their favoured party.
Some media houses have superiority complex that underestimate small issues and some other have inferiority complex who do not dare to deal with big ones. Media bias is a kind of misuse of media.
Another instance, most of Nepali media houses are dependent on the big business which are good source of advertisement. They do rarely publish negative news of those houses.
Sensationalism is another type of media misuse.
Sensationalism is a practice in media to sensitize the audience with fake and/or exaggerated news contents. This is done by many media and journalists to attract the attention of audience and to gain cheap popularity quickly. It deals with extremely unusual and controversial.
Media are easily attracted towards shock value or attention-grabbing news than the issues of general public that cause sensationalism.
Sometimes news media fail to verify the news and publish it in hurry that may cost expensive to some media.
News about a girl who claimed that she had found an abandoned moneybag containing Rupees 10 million in a public bus, can be a suitable example of sensationalism. The news was published in one of the renowned broadsheet daily. Even the President was attracted by this fascinating wrong news. It is known by ‘Anuja Bania scandal’ in Nepali press.
However, most of the sensational news stories published/broadcasted intentionally sometimes, media transmit/publish some information with good intention but the audience takes into different meaning that also can sensitize the audience. For example, news aired by All India Radio was about the assassination of Indira Gandhi, Indian PM in 1984, which quoted “…a Siekh bodyguard shut her to death” spread a sensation across the country and a violence blasted against Seikh people.
Sensationalism may give a media a short popularity but in long term it makes the media light weighted. But the sensationalism has injected a taste in the audience so deeply that media without small sensational issues will not be surviving in the market.
-Ganesh Kumar Paudel