When we celebrate Independence Day every year on August 15, people talk about different aspects of it taking from our brave freedom fighters to Army, our freedom struggle, social reforms, India in the era of post-independence, and lot more. Independence Day starts with saluting tricolor, remembering uncountable heroes and our Prime Minister’s speech which millions of Indians watch on Television. And all patriotic films, shows, and songs are streamed the whole day on TV and Radio.
It is almost every year’s routine. But somewhere we forget to appreciate the ‘Media’ and it’s role in the freedom struggle. History of Indian media can be traced long back when the first paper Bengal Gazette was started by James Augustus Hicky in 1780. That marked the birth of a newspaper in India. Later on newspapers as a medium of mass communication flourished and regional language newspapers were also started across the nation. The articles and information written by our freedom fighters made an immense impact on the minds of the common people and British as well.
Radio became the first audio medium of connecting with people. All India Radio broadcast started in 1923 via 2 private stations- Radio Club of Bombay & later Calcutta Radio Club. It came under the control of the Government of India in 1936. It became another tool to reach out to the masses. Cinema had become very prominent from the 1930s. That was the time when many patriotic and social films were made to unite Indians ideologically and in many other forms. And films do influence them.
After almost two centuries of freedom struggle, the day arrived to celebrate independence and valor and bravery of the countless freedom fighters and leaders. However, independence came with a cost and scar of partition but right now let’s not get into that.
Post-Independent, India became a democratic and sovereign nation abides by the constitution. And along with legislative, executive, and judiciary; Media became the fourth estate of democracy. Newspapers had their solid grip, radio was doing well, cinema was transforming and Indians were introduced to an all-new device that is ‘Television Set’ ever since then it became part of everyday life.
The LPG policy in the 1991became the biggest transformation and the private channels came in. The rise of news channels and the factor of 24/7 initiated the change of fate of Indian media. The competition increased and commercialization began. The advent of the internet in the last two decades changed it all!
Today, the media we have is way different from what it was in the pre-independence era or even several decades after post-independence. The media which was the most powerful tool for the leaders of the nation and played a pivotal road has now become a threat in a certain way. One cannot overlook the actions taken by media during the attacks of 26/11when it indirectly helped terrorists and our commandos and policemen have to face the wrath.
The content created and exposed through all the mediums especially cinema and news media is bizarre. Earlier words like truth, courage, objectivity were synonymous with journalism are now replaced with paid news, biased news, commercialized, sensationalized.
There is no denial of the fact that change is the rule of nature everything has to transform over the period but we have to keep in mind that the change should not be derogatory.
On the occasion of Independence Day, along with our heroes, we also remember the media that was once a hero.