Words by Muskan Arora
From listening to the radio to having our news a few touches away, media has rapidly grown to be the biggest storyteller. Mostly, our perception of any event that has happened across the world is influenced by the way media platforms project it. Media chooses what should be consumed by the reader and vice versa. As a media student, I understand how important it is for journalists to be honest and authentic in any story they tell. The media also understands the demand of the consumers for fiery news. The media tends to ignore some news, which is of importance and instead, prints the news with more spice and drama because the audience loves gossips. Media is such a powerful tool in our society as it can change opinions according to their own will, which could also be viewed as dangerous.
Recently, the spread of coronavirus in Asia has shaken the world. Everyone is so scared and tensed about its effects, even the countries that are not directly affected. A commercial ship was stopped at the dock as one of the passengers had a fever and it was suspected by everyone to be coronavirus. The media projected coronavirus to be so grand and dangerous to humans that every Asian is being tested and checked. Additionally, many people did not know about the fires in Australia and it was a global issue. The fire caused some harmful effects to our earth and so many animals died. The air of Australia became contaminated and hazardous and a study showed that during that time breathing in Australia was equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes. According to the associated press, 12.35 million acres of land has been burned and the fire gave rise to multiple problems like irritation in eyes, throat and lungs. People having respiratory problems as they had to be rushed to the hospital. Imagine, such a disaster occurring in one part of the world, whereas the other part is concerned about the controversies of Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra Jonas. Doesn’t that count as a major drawback and fault of the media?
Another major aspect, which is degrading the media nowadays, is the upcoming concept of “Fake News” which was formally introduced by Donald Trump. Media has been publishing news, which never took place, just because it sounds spicy and would keep the readers engrossed. The power of storytelling is recently being used to divert the truth from people. The media is telling us stories, which might impact the future of our country and our economy. Another aspect of storytelling by the media is how they represent genders. The Sun for a large span of time had a page where they showed images of naked girls and when Rupert Murdock the owner of The Sun came to know, he was furious and against publishing such content until he saw the balance sheet of the newspaper and how the newspaper sales had steeply gone up. When the same was tried with pictures of men, it didn’t work. Women have been objectified since the beginning of time and the media has played a very important role in magnifying such objectification. If you have ever noticed, in any magazine, women are always on the left side of men, which represents that women are under them, or in other way men are superior to women. Is this the kind of story we want to tell our young daughters and sons? Even in advertisements of domestic products or jobs of nurses and waitresses, women are presented, which is how I believe that media is using their power of storytelling in a very harmful way. All the young boys watching television or reading the adverts are being told that you can become a doctor or an astronaut whereas all the young girls are told that they can either be nurses or take care of home.
In this situation, the question arises of where do we check our news from, how do we know which one is true and which one is fabricated. It is a very difficult task but to recheck everything we read, we should search more and more about it before landing on a conclusion. One of the biggest recent examples of such fabricated news was the Citizenship Amendment Act in India. The media projected this act to anti-Muslim, which led to rage and chaos in the country. No one was clear about the act stated but the media had influenced people so widely that they believed whatever was shown on news, newspapers and social media. If we study the act, it nowhere states that it is an anti-Muslim act. To save ourselves from fake news and this dangerous storytelling of the media, we should aim at researching and reading more about the topic, understanding the topic and then forming judgements and not just blindly believing the media.