Guiding Light: Role of media to bring positive change in society

-- Rajyogi Brahmakumar Nikunj Ji

One of the notable changes in our social environment in the 20th and 21st centuries has been the saturation of our culture and daily lives by the mass media. In this new environment- radio, television, movies, videos, video games, smartphones, and computer networks have assumed central roles in our children’s daily lives.
Off lately it has become a common practice to link media for any inexplicable acts of violence that are faced by society. Like in a recent court hearing of an incident where a teenager kidnapped and murdered his sister brutally influenced by a crime tv show, the hon.judge suggested that exposure to violent content on TV might provide a partial explanation for the crime.
However, when we examine the nature of the evidence linking crime and media in such cases, the argument begins to unravel, which begs the question that what is at stake in blaming the media? Frankly speaking, most of the people who pass such comments often have very little knowledge either of the individual cases or the huge body of research into media/violence, yet rumour and opinion quickly take on the status of ‘truth’ and ‘authority’.
However, this does not mean that watching violent material on any visual medium does not affect the human mind, no! The effects may differ from person to person, but one cannot rule out completely that violent depiction of crime and violence does not affect its viewers.

There are several well-researched reports which document the impact of cinema and television violence on real-life tragedies. While freedom of media is extremely important and should be zealously guarded, but at the same time responsibility should co-exist with freedom.
Steps should, therefore, be taken to ensure that at least the more harmful depiction of violence and crime on tv or cinema is checked. While parental supervision and film certification rules help shield children to a large extent from objectionable content on television and in films, but the internet, by its very nature, is beyond regulation and therefore there is no way to check the free availability of such harmful content on the net.
Hence, if we continue to turn a blind eye to this malaise, soon a time will come when even those of us who consider themselves immune to such acts of violence will become one of its victims.

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