DU SOL BA 3rd Year Mass Communication Notes Chapter 7 Mass Communications of Conflict
Discuss the role piayed by mass-communication Media in society.
Roles Played By the Media. The media play the following vital roles in a society:-
1. Disseminate Information. We have described this most important function elsewhere in this volume. Television networks, radio stations, newspapers, magazines etc. do precisely on thing – they disseminate information at the right time among the targeted audience of a society. Today, we can easily use the word ‘societies’ because the mass media tools are spreading information among many societies. The reach of the media is so high that no individual living on this planet can deny their influence on him or his actions. Information spread by the media is utilized by families to –
- Take commercial decisions;
- Participate in democratic process (like elections, to quote an example);
- Move from one place to another (for social reasons or for breaking free);
- Entertain themselves;
- Satisfy their needs related to business, employment and global trade;
- Get vital facts and data related to the local, national, regional and global polity; and
- Satisfy their intellectual needs and desires of belonging to finely defined segments or niches.
2. Motivate Individual and Families. High-definition television have arrived in Europe and the USA. They are also making beelines in the retail showrooms of India. These sophisticated devices project products and services in such a manner that the messages persuade prospective buyers to jump out of their homes and buy the Sales revenues are decided by advertising spending patterns around the world and not by the need set of buyers. Creative directors, artists, and production personnel create mind-boggling advertisements so that the targeted audience are hooked up to the products and services. As a consequence, sales charts spiral in an upward direction, Those firms that advertise their products and services become prosperous. The economy grows. Productivity, efficiency, and satisfaction (after consuming the products or utilizing the services) increase. The society grows and so does the nation.
3. Motivate Individuals on Issues of Great or Immediate Important: As mass communication tools, the media influence the people of various societies and convey the views of connoisseurs about political, economic and social problems. Example – Zee TV, Star TV and Aaj Tak channels conduct and broadcast live and recorded debates. Such channels invite experts and common people to participate in these debates.
Opinions are exchanged. Some conclusions are arrived at. Viewers also send their suggestions through SMS messages, E-mail, and telephone calls. The audience are able to get concrete facts and data regarding current political and social issues. A TV channel asked for the opinions of people regarding the formation of Hindu suicide squads on the pattern of the Fidayeen. The discussion covered all the events related to terrorist attacks, the “nine-eleven carnage” in New York (on September 11, 2001) and attacks on temples and general public. As a natural consequence, a considerable percentage of people supported the formation of Hindu suicide squads.
Although one may deem this step of the ultra-Hindu organizations a negative one, we can conclude that the TV channel in question was able to persuade the masses towards a decision of extreme nature. And this was done through the perpetual broadcasts of events of terrorist attacks. The TV channel did only the task of influencing people by covering the events. Later, when it asked for the opinions of the masses regarding the formation of Hindu suicide squads, many viewers replied in the affirmative. We can only imagine how much powerful a TV channel can become.
4. Change Habits and Living styles of Masses. Every society is guided by the values and cultural norms, which have been in vogue in it for the past 1,000 years (or more). The mass media, slowly buy surely, influence these values and norms. What they print, telecast, or broadcast is deemed the latest thing in vogue. This “in-thing” is easily accepted by societies because the print, visual, and audio-visual media are generally considered ideal and correct and the masses are invariably prone to accept their blitzkrieg as truth.
Accordingly, people of a society change their lifestyles, opinions and daily habits because the media ‘tell them to do so.” Example – Fashion shows being telecast on TV networks change fashion trends. The spring-summer collections of famous fashion designers are adorned by beautiful damsels and masculine honchos. And these dressed or garments are shown or promoted before the targeted spring/summer season arrives. The masses prepare themselves in advance for these new fashion statements.
They buy these garments in advance, or get their bookings done for the same. They also talk to others who may not have seen those TV shows. Thus, they try to influence (or persuade) others to buy the latest fashion wear simply because .they themselves had seen those new apparel on TV fashion shows. Fast moving consumer goods, consumer durables, medicines, fashion garments, woolen garments, leather goods, shoes, jewellery, diamonds, bed linen, health care services (including reputed hospitals), junk food, resorts, tourist spots and many modes of entertainment are sold through die glossy programmes on TV shows. Radio and newspapers are also not far behind in these exercises. The ‘rich’ or a medium decides how the targeted societies would respond to these mass communication exercises.
5. Implement AIDA Theory. This theory is based on four basic steps (in that order) – attention, intention, desire, and action. The media execute their campaigns in such a manner that the viewer, reader or listener moves to the next stage in this process. If he or she is in the attention stage, he would be persuaded to go to the intention stage. Similarly, those, who are in the “desire stage,” would be motivated to go to the “action stage”, which is the ultimate on for buying goods or services promoted by the media.
Example: LML Adiono, the latest motorcycle form LML, was promoted in the media. The prospective buyers went through the AIDA process and purchased these motorcycles. Had there been no promotional campaign in the media, how could the form sell a large volume of these modem machines? An essential tenet of the gargantuan field of advertising, the AIDA theory is executed only through the advertisements, promotional campaigns, newspaper advertisements, showroom (Point-of-Purchase) displays, TV shows etc. In the modem times, this theory can be implemented only through the media.
6. Unify the Elements of the Society. Every society tends to remain unique and integrated. The individuals and families of a society try to generate a silent code of conduct, which ought to be adhered to by all of its members, but this conformance is voluntary. The media promote the vital features, benefits, religious supremacy, achievements, or strong points of a society. These campaigns promote the “unified integrity” of that society. Example – The residents of Singapore have taken up a new challenge.
Neatly 70 per cent of Singaporeans are of Chinese origin and nearly 20 percent of them are of Malay origin. However, all people of Singapore want to be identified as Singaporeans (and not as Chinese or Malays). They organized stage shows, ballads, and other cultural programmes on October 20, 2002 to communicate a single message, “ We are Singaporeans.” In that country, the components of the society dissociated themselves from their previous identities and joined hands to call themselves
The Singaporeans. Their multiracial fabrics were replaced by a common fabric of nationalism. Their racial identities were forgotten, and the. media helped them unify their components (like the Chinese, Malays, Indians etc.) Newspapers also influence the societies of all the nations in a powerful and an effective manner. They are the vital organs of every society that aspires to be free and prosperous.
7. Supply Vital Data of Civic Nature. The media give information regarding the civic activities that go on in a city or state. Theatre, cinema, rail movements, airline movements, activities of municipal authorities, fashion shows, religious meetings, political meetings etc are some of the activities regarding which, the masses need up-to-date data on a regular basis. Newspapers, magazines, Closed Circuit Televisions (CCTVs) telecast, videotext, cable TV networks etc supply these date on a continuous basis. Magazines give data that have long-term implications; these print media tools try to be intellectual in terms of contents and form. Hence, these may not supply vital civic data. However, these do supply commercial data. Example- Business World, Business India, and IEEE Spectrum publish advertisements related to recruitment, purchase of machines, products or services etc. These also promote firms or their products/services for the purpose of selling them. All these data re of commercial nature (and not of civic nature).
8. Entertain the Elements of the Society, the present-day media are entertainment Mughals of the new breed. Soap operas, movies, sit comes, stories (published), music videos, photographs, internet wedsites, and other tooled are used by these media to entertain and enthrall the elements of a society. Satellite TV’ CATV, Internet technologies, High Definition TV (HDTV), cinema halls, newspaper features, books, magazines etc entertain the audiences. Leisure is much more important today than it was 50 years ago. All media have become essential tools of relaxation in the new millennium.
Discuss the role played by Media in confiict situations like riots, infiltration, terrorism war and natural calamities.
Media And Conflict Situations
Media in Confiict situation. In the gamut of conflict situations, Media have to perform its basic functions i.e. information, personal identification of the people with the situation, integration and social interaction.
They find out about the relevant events and conditions in immediate surroundings, society and the world. They seek advice on practical matters or opinions and decision choices. They satisfy curiosity and general interest. They help people to gain a sense of security through knowledge by warning and precaution measures.
People find reinforcement for personal values connected with the conflict situation, find models of behaviours, identity with valued others though and in media. They gain insight into circumstances of others, creating social empathy. They identify with others and gain a sense of belonging, find a basis for conversation and social interaction, media helps to carry out social roles in such situations, enable the masses to connect with the society.
Negatively Media can warren the situation, through gossip mongering, gasification of cuprites, exaggerated apprehensions and creating a sort of panic
Riots – It refers to the existence of different cultures in India and social problems that arise due to friction among them. In India, the culture of an area changes after every 80 km. People wear different types of clothes, speak different languages, and follow differential social rituals even in one state. The clash of cultures mainly emanates from the religious differences. Example – The cases of riots in Hyderabad.
Godhra, Ahmedabad, Aligarh, Meerut, and new Delhi are prominent in this context. Communal hatred leads to violence and this violence takes the toll of money, lives, assets, and man hours, Hence economic growth is hampered by multicultural facets of Indian society. This is in quite contrast with the singular cultures of most of the Western nations. Even in a country like the USA (where many different cultures and ethnic groups survive), racial or communal riots are not witnessed. In India, religion plays a major role in fuelling the fire of communal disharmony.
Further, within the same community, there are many sects. These sects have many differences in terms of opinions religious modus operandi and spiritual philosophy. Therefore, they also clash with one another from time to
time. However, such clashes are not very common in India. Example – Shia- Sunni riots have become a prominent feature of Karachi (Pakistan), but in India, such events are rarely witnessed. In our country, inter-communal divide is more prominent than inter-communal divide.
Different values dominate different cultures. Hence, people also have % ego clashes, which may lead to violent clashes. These are of minor nature, though the warring factions suffer a lot on this account. Many of them are forced to go through rigorous legal procedures before justice is delivered of them.
In a multicultural society like that of India, business operational and factories suffer a lot due to cultural disparities. Unfortunately, law-enforcing agencies, judiciary, and NGOs have not been able to put a full stop on these dangerous trends. Communal roots have become a part of India. Politicians use the communal feelings of the masses to come to power or settle their scores with their rivals. The sensitive areas of the country in this context are ahmedabad, Aligarh, Hyderabad, Mumbai, New Delhi, Jummu, Srinagar and Bhopal. However, the southern states of India are more or less peaceful on this account.
In India, religion plays a major role in shaping the action and ambitions of every society. Communal conflicts are common. Although there may be • peace on the facade of our society, yet ours is a highly volatile social edifice that can be damaged by a single bomb blast or an act of communal violence. During the past, communal frenzy has taken a heavy toll of lives and property of the Indians.
Examples: Mumbai bomb blasts in 1993, Mumbai (Gateway of India) blast in 2003, Operation Blue Star in June, 1984), Akshardham Carnage (Gujarat; 2002), partition blues in Punjab in August, 1947 Babri Masjid demolition on December 6,1992 in Ayodhya, and the attack on Jammu railway station by the Fidayeen on January’ 3, 2004). Our multiracial and multiethnic society makes our country vulnerable to communal riots. Politicians add fuel to the fire to reap reach benefits for themselves and their parties.
Ordinary people died or lose their limbs due to this communal frenzy. India shall remain a hot bed of communal violence because of the presence of different communities in it. The basic issues are not being addressed either by , the executive or by the judiciary to seek long-term solutions in this context.
Terrorism. India has been witnessing a gory spate of violence since the eighties of the last century. The problem of terrorism in Punjab took the toll of many a people of this north-western state. When KPS Gill, JR Reibero, and Beant Singh made efforts to put a cap on this trend, they faced the wrath of the masses and militants alike. In the end, the Punjab police, under the able leadership of Mr. KPS Gill, were bale to check terrorism in Punjab. Mrs. Indira Gandhi had to pay the price by giving her life the altar of patriotism. All is well in Punjab. The BJP and Akali Dal (Badal) are close allies. During the elections for the Lok Sabha (2004), the Akali Dal (Badal) left three seats to be contested by the BJP.
The problem of Punjab was resolved, but the Kashmir imbroglio became a headache for the masses of Kashmir, security personnel, and political leaders of India. Several hundred persons have been killed until date due to the operations of Kashmiri militants in Kashmir and other parts of the country.
The government has always taken a tough stance against the secessionist ^ organization, the
All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC). However, it has indulge in a meaningful dialogue in February, 2004 to resolve the long pending problem of Kashmir. The Kashmiri militant groups want a cleavage for India. The Indian government does not even give wild consideration to this idea. The renewed dialogue between India and Pakistan is only a political force; the real issues remain as such. The militants reduce the number and intensity of the acts of terrorism in Kashmir after the process of normalization of relations (between India and Pakistan) started. However, sporadic incidents of terrorism are being witnessed in Kashmir.
Example – The Jammu Railway station was attacked by militants on January 4, 2004. Further, the attacks on Akshardham temple, the Parliament of India, and the Jammu and Kashmir state assembly are a part of the machinations of the militant groups operating in Kashmir. There is no immediate solution to the Kashmir problem. The pressures from the USA and the West have forced India and Pakistan to settle all the pending issues. However, below the veneer of cricket matches, visits of dignitaries, and political dialogues, the real problems facing the two countries single in a stealthy eerie silence. In the mean time, the Kashmiri masses, security personnel and government officials suffer due to the uncertainty and chaos that has prevailed in the valley since the mid-eighties.
Caste Conflicts. Such conflicts rise like fires from the ashes of our traditions, taboos, and beliefs. We are not likely to do away with those beliefs that are firmly entrenched in our minds. Caste difference is one such system. Example – Jat Sikh-Dalit clashes in village Talhan in Jalandhar district of Punjab in July 2003. Further, disputes over agricultural land and lack of educational facilities are the problems that had dogged rural areas even before independence. The pace of economic progress is slow and it is a contributing factor for promoting such conflicts.
The Media And Social Integration –
The mass media can unite widely scattered people by giving them common sets of values, ideas, and information. These media can also help the masses form their own identities through this integration process. Further, religion, family and groups are uniting the modem societies nowadays. However, their grip on these societies loosening. The media can bind modem societies in a much better manner than religion, family, and groups. Thus the mass media are the appropriate tools for integration of the masses. They can also achieve social cohesion among the members of modem societies.
According to McCormack (quoted by Dennis McQuail in his text), “There is an additional dimension of valuation or perspective in that both social integration and fragmentation can themselves appear in either favourable or an unfavourable light. One person’s describable social control is another person’s denial of freedom, one person’s nonconformity is another’s individualism, and one person’s evidence of social fragmentation is another’s proof of the benefits of privatization.
At issue is a contrast between the nations of change, freedom, diversity, and fragmentations (centrifugal tendencies), on the one hand, and those of order, control, unity and cohesion on the other. Frothier formation, much depends upon whether one takes a positive or negative view of the differential outcomes of these alternative tendencies. The two conflicting tendencies ad described in the fermentation text of McCormack, have been used to create four images of social integration, They are both positive and negative.
The positive aspect of the centripetal effect defines the media as integrative and unifying; this is a functionalist viewpoint. The negative version represents this effect as one of homogenization and manipulative control; this is the view of the critical theory or mass society theory.
The positive version of the centrifugal effect lays emphasis on modernization, freedom, and mobility as the effects that can be expected from the media; this is the other form of individualism. The negative version of the centrifugal effect insinuates isolation, alienation, loss of values, and vulnerability; this is the dysfunctional view of change as social disorder.
The Social Responsibility –
This theory has defined the following tenets –
- The media have obligations to society. Media ownership is a public trust.
- News media should be truthful, accurate, and relevant.
- The media must remain fair to the masses and the subjects that make events or news.
- The media should produce a forum for ideas.
- The media should be free, but they must also have a kind of self-regulation in the in the interest of society.
- The media should abide by some defined codes of ethics and professional standards. _
- The society should regulate or control the media under some conditions. It should be allowed to do so in the public interest.
Ferguson defined the tenets of public communication. The origin of this theory can be traced to the text writer by Ferguson. From the Seventeenth century onwards, newspapers of printed publications were deemed a tool for political liberation and socioeconomic progress in, Europe and its Colonies. Alternatively, they were deemed tools of opposition to the power centers in these areas.
War and Media. Nearly 50 years ago, new, modem communication technologies were developed. During that period, the Press theory was affected by the situations of wars and history.
During the late Nineteenth century, the Press was commercialized in the USA and Britai~ Ad World started selling products and services to the mass audiences in these nations. Commercial application of the mass were accompanied by sensational journalism, scandal-mongerifig, and other unethical practices. Hence, the standards of information were degraded due to the advent of commercialism. The Press empires grew at an amazing pace. These empires were put under scathing attacks.
The Soviet Union, Germany, and Japan used the Press and other media to exploit people in political terms -(during the era of WWII). Later, after 1945, the Soviet Union created an Iron Curtain and ruled the Eastern Block by using the media to her advantage. The audience were not given information they needed. The cultures of the dominated nations of eastern Europe were overshadowed due to the media’s unilateral flow of information.
This was dene to keep the Eastern Block intact.
The situation changed in 1989. The Iron curtain fell. Information became freely available during the nineties: Democratic values started creeping into the minds of the masses of the erstwhile Eastern Block. By mid-nineties, the second pole disappeared. The media ruled everywhere. Their masters used them to exploit the masses in commer ial and social terms. Homogenization of culture became the buzzword; this homogenization was the result of the independence of the media after the fall of the second pole.