Media Power- Are we utilizing its full potential?

Nyanbemo Lotha Naga

I recall an incident in Shillong way back in 2010 when some hired laborers dug up the side of the street to install OFC lines and left it without covering up with the earth causing much inconvenience to the public in the already congested road typical of the city. This ignorance went on for about a week and then one hazy morning the city daily “Shillong Times” reported in their front page. The concerned authority wasted no time and fixed the problem in that afternoon itself. Now a swift comeback to our state where the local daily reported in the front page on the pathetic road condition at PR hill junction (Pedestrians Nightmare Square is more befitting) last week (July 6,2018) and as always, the usual blame game and excuses must be in motion for which nothing has been done till now (and possibly for countless days more ahead) and we the citizens, hardly know whom to complain or how to complain because based on records, we are already so confused as to whether the government or the department concerned is to be blamed, for none seems to acknowledge one’s shortcomings.


Now this is where the debate on the importance of media power comes into play. Media as a tool of change can take place only if the people within that society are an active participants and not just an observer. Lately all over the country paid news seem to the order of the day which is eroding the basic tenet of professional ethics in journalism and our State is no exception. Maybe for a start, we can pray for more public friendly journalism over government friendly ones.


Unlike most other States, including our closest neighbors, we lack the privilege of a common local news channel and so besides the classic radio which very few people rely on nowadays, the daily newspaper is the only and the cheapest means of keeping our self updated with current events be it local, national; or international on a daily basis. And most rational thinking individual reading this column knows just how much of intellectually stimulating contents our local dailies presents for our mind to feast upon- grossly inadequate. A few instances, to show that we might actually be misusing the only effective platform for which it is losing its teeth.


Our obsession with felicitations have reached new heights of embarrassment, every other day the major part of space in our dailies are taken by felicitations. From students getting through exams to getting a degree or getting an admission in some institution or some odd individuals who just got a time bound promotion. For the sake of commonsense, let us try to understand that we are not the only society in the world where people get promoted or students clear exams.


Another point of concern albeit sensitive, is on acknowledgements, some of us just want to take the entire page for ourselves. Well fine, it is with the noble intention of showing our grief or loss but the other side of the picture appear as though we are glorifying the death of a dear one and to announce publicly that we are from an influential family and goes on to the extent of mentioning the list of people in power who gave a helping hand – in a table of precedence in perfect accordance of their rank/position while undermining the strong moral support from friends, relatives and neighbors who might have consoled the grieving family far more than anyone else. Dear brethrens, have a look around at the daily editions of any advanced society or country and you will find this trait missing and the revelation is not something to be proud of as an individual, community or a society.


Another point of mention is the latest development of appreciation and self glorification through the media like cleaning one’s own locality or drain and making it public as though in want of a congratulatory note for cleaning our own kitchen.


Last, but definitely not the last point in store, had it not been for the intention to save time and space, is on some advertisements we see every now and then like house rent available or driver wanted followed by a big “NON-LOCALS ONLY” written in big bold letters. Now that is a loud declaration of the mutual mistrust that is rising among our people, let’s be wise enough to pick up these little hints and work for the welfare of ourselves lest we start being more comfortable with outsiders than with our own blood.


Now I know the editors and his/her team are not to be blamed for all these in mention because the demands of the public cannot be ignored and our demands for instant glory and recognition has gone up to such level of hypocrisy that the proof is there for all of us to see. Perhaps, the respected editors can be kind enough to assign a particular section separately like the Sunday post solely for the purpose of all these distractions and maintain the integrity of the newspaper with quality content so that readers can have an intellectual intercourse and take our society to an intellectual climax.