Role of Media in Society


What is Media?
“Communication channels through which news, entertainment, education, data, or
promotional messages are disseminated. Media includes every broadcasting and
narrowcasting medium such as newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, billboards, direct mail,
telephone, fax, and internet. Media is the plural of medium and can take a plural or singular
verb, depending on the sense intended.”
“Media (singular medium) are the storage and transmission channels or tools used to store
and deliver information or data. It is often referred to as synonymous with media or news
media, but may refer to any means of information communication.”

Role of Media in Society


History of Media
Media helps in connecting people and "brings the globe into our glance". Let us take a look
into the history as well as origin of media, which is also popularly known as public media.
The information distributed to people on a large scale through the use of television, radio,
movies, newspapers, Internet, magazines and books is termed as Media.

Can we ever imagine life without mobile phones, televisions or the Internet? Possibly not! It
is a fact that the world would have been a much bigger place, if we did not have gadgets that
enhanced connectivity. We can communicate with ease, gain knowledge with the click of a
button, and know about world events as they happen. Let's have a look at how media evolved
over the years.

Evolution of Media
Media has been evolving through the ancient periods when kings patronized their writers and
poets for writing books and creating dramas. The power of media is known to the world. It
has thrown away mighty dynasties and created new empires. Media has helped in creating
social awareness and has also provided people with an easy way of living life. The print
media played an important part in the historical events such as, The Renaissance, The
American War of Independence, The French Revolution and many more...

Early Years

The media started evolving as early as 3300 B.C., when the Egyptians perfected the
hieroglyphics. This writing system was based on symbols. Later in 1500 B.C., the Semites
devised the alphabets with consonants. It was around 800 B.C. that the vowels were
introduced into the alphabet by the Greeks.

The Book

Many books were written in ancient times, but sources confirm that the first printed book was
the 'Diamond Sutra' written in China in 868 A.D. But with the slow spread of literacy in
China and the high cost of paper in the country, printing lacked the speed required to reach
large numbers of people. However, printing technology quickly evolved in Europe. In 1400
A.D., Johannes Gutenberg, a German goldsmith, invented the printing press of movable type,
which is said to be based on screw bases. The first book was printed in the year 1453 A.D.
One of the books that were printed was, 'The Gutenberg Bible'. From a single city in
Germany, the printing press spread all over Europe, like a wild fire. In 1468 A.D. William
Role of Media in Society


Caxton produced a book with the first printed advertisement in England. By the year 1500
A.D., two million copies of books were printed in these countries. In the next hundred years,
the printing rose to two hundred million copies.

The Rise of Newspaper

The newspaper developed around 1600 A.D., but it took this form of media more than a
century to influence the masses directly. The first printed newspaper was "The Relation".
Later, in the year 1690, Benjamin Harris printed the first colonial newspaper in Boston. There
was an increase in the circulation of newspaper in the nineteenth century. The first African-
American paper titled "Freedom's Journal" was published in the year 1827. By the end of
1900, print media could be found in the form of books, pamphlets, magazines and
newspapers. Newspaper provided all the necessary information about the world for the
people at remote locations. Even today, newspapers remain an important global source of
Telegraph and Telephone

The first telegraph line was set in the year 1844 by Samuel Morse. And by the year 1858, the
first transatlantic cable was established, making it easier for people to communicate.

The telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in the year 1876 which brought about
a revolution in the field of communication. People were now able to sit in the comfort of their
homes and chat with friends and relatives across the globe.

Radio and Television

Meanwhile, in the year 1885, George Eastman invented the photographic film. The film
developed by Eastman helped Gilbert Grosvenor to introduce photographs in 'National
Geographic' in the year 1899. The print media began losing popularity in the twentieth
century with the emergence of televisions and radios.

During the year 1894, the radio was invented by Guglielmo Marconi. Radios worked on the
principle of transmission of electromagnetic waves. As the transmission of radio programs
began, it became a prominent source of entertainment for the public.

The television was invented by John Logie Baird in the year 1925. The first television
transmission was done in the year 1927 by Philo Farnsworth. Walt Disney produced the
world's first full color film "Flower and trees" in the year 1932. It was during the 1950s that
the black and white television became a part of the American household. What was earlier in
the paper could now be seen audio-visually. Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon was
Role of Media in Society


televised globally in color, in the year 1969. Media in this form became technologically
dependent and progressed along with developments in fields of electricity, semi-conductors
and cathode ray tubes.
Internet and Smartphone

In the second half of the twentieth century, the Internet evolved. With the concept of the
Internet, the world got globally connected. The e-mail technology developed during the
1970s. It was Tim Berners-Lee who had come up with this idea of WWW (World Wide Web)
in the year 1990. By the year 2004 Internet broadband connected more than half of American
homes. Instant message services were introduced in the year 2001. Since its introduction, the
Internet has been providing us with information and connectivity. Today, there are more than
two billion people who use the Internet. The world is now at our fingertips. With the click of
a button we can search for anything we want.

In recent times, the introduction of smart phones has brought about a major change in the
lives of people. People do not have to wait for hours to avail valuable information. The
portability of this device is an added advantage. Smartphone‟s have specific features such as
touch screen, GPS, web browsers, Wi-Fi connectivity and many more applications which
have added comfort and convenience.

Role of Media in Society


Media is a super-power that has connected the world in multiple ways. We think of media
just as newspapers, televisions and the Internet, but it has been present in some form or the
other since hundreds of years. Who knows what forms of communication we may have a
hundred years from now? Will mobile phones work on the power of thought? Civilization
will progress and its means of sharing intelligent thought will keep evolving over time.
Positive Effects of the Media

Political Analysis
 The skilled and bold personality of anchor person raises people‟s voice and clearly
asks the real point of the crisis.
 They analyze government actions, either in favor or against the masses and develop
the opinions of the experts.
 Media is serving as true democratic notion of people‟s participation. The general
peoples‟ criticism, analysis, and comments are added. which also act as a catharsis.
 The ruling feel shame while speaking bluff in live shows before the millions of the
 Media successfully informs the whole world against any injustice and shows world‟
criticism which compel the government to change its autocratic orders.
Economic Debate
 Shows government‟s projects internationally to get foreign investment by projecting
the benefits of the enterprise.
 Advertising to maintain competition among various companies which facilitates the
public. Like mobile phones and their lowering prices.
 It represents new business trends going in the world and offering the new
opportunities for the investors.
 Performance of stock exchange keeps update the investors.
 Spreads technical education to learn the working of the machinery.
Social Awareness
 Bring the world at doorstep with its various trends, colors and life styles.
 Changes moods and behavior of people from conservative to liberal.
 Bold topics through dramas and talk shows to purify the society from superstitions,
evils and fake stories.
Role of Media in Society


 New household styles to upgrade the living standards.
 Guides the youth for new opportunities and to compete with the world in all fields of
 Creates civic sense.
Religion Clarifications
 Authentic information by the competent scholars instead of narrow minded and
ignorant clerics who have changed the world into hell.
 Solutions of answers of publics‟ questions which remain unheared and unexplained.
 Highlights religious events like Mohram, Eid, Mairaj and the holy Ramadan.
 Sectarian harmony is minimized by putting forward the views of competent and
enlightened Ulamas.
It can change opinions because they have access to people and this gives it a lot of strength.
This strength can either be used constructively by educating the people or it can be used
destructively by misleading the innocent people.
Power of the media can transform the whole society especially in the developing countries it
can be used as a 'weapon of mass destruction'. But I think the most important use of media is
to educate the people about the basic human rights.
The dilemma of the developing countries is that people are not fully aware of their basic
rights and if they know, they don't know about what to do and where to go. They don't know
their collective strength. Even they don't know how to protest and what is the importance of
protests. Media should portray the facts. They should not transform the reality.
Education and discipline is key to progress. This is the difference between a nation and a
crowd. Media men have access to people and they have an audience. Their programs have an
impact and people listen to them.
That's why they are more responsible for the betterment of the society. They should work to
educate the people, to help the people and to liberate the people and to empower the people
Media plays a very important role in the building of a society. Media has changed the
societies of world so much that we can't ignore its importance. First of all we should know
what the media is. Media is a source of information or communication.
Role of Media in Society


Media includes sources like print media and electronic media. Newspapers, magazines and
any other form, which is written or printed, is included in print media and in electronic,
media radio, television and Internet etc. are included.
When there are so many channels and newspapers we cannot ignore its importance in the
society. Media has lot of responsibility on its shoulders as today's society is very much
influenced by the role of media. We believe in what media projects to us. We change our
minds according to the information provided through it.
In the past when the media was not so strong we were quite ignorant about what is happening
around us. But today we come to know very quickly what is happening around us. We have
the access to all the international news channels that provide us the facts and figures.
Considering this fact that media has the power to influence society, it should know its
responsibility towards society. It should feel its responsibility to educate the society in a
positive way. It should be giving us fair analysis and factual information
Media plays a vital role in every one's life. In today's modern society media has become a
part and parcel of our life. Its duty is to inform, educate and entertain. It is considered as the
4th pillar of our society.
Research has revealed that media is responsible for influencing a major part of our daily life.
Media contribute to a transformation in the cultural and social values of the masses. Media
can bring about a change in the attitudes and beliefs of the common man. The persuasive
nature of the content presented over media influences the thoughts and behavior of the
general public. Media has a direct impact over the lifestyle of society.

The recent advent of blogging in the media world and practices like public polls and citizen
journalism, have led to the achievement of a social control. These concepts have strengthened
the relationship between the media and the common man. They have brought the general
masses closer to their society.

Media has brought about a major transformation in the way people think. Media has given
them an excellent platform to present themselves before the world and contribute in their own
way to the changing world scenario. Media has been responsible for making the world a
smaller place to live.
Role of Media in Society


Media's Negative Influence

Blind Imitation: When you try to imitate your role models from the glamor industry, do you
give a thought to whether you are doing right or wrong? It is often seen that young girls and
boys imitate celebrities blindly. The impact of media is such that the wrong, the
controversial, and the bad is more talked about. Sometimes, little things are blown out of
proportion thus changing the way they are perceived by the audience. Media highlights
controversies and scandals in the lives of celebrities. The masses fall for this being-in-the-
news and end up imitating celebrities without much thought. Those at a vulnerable age,
especially children and teenagers, are highly influenced by anything that is put before them in
a jazzy way. At that age, they are attracted to anything that's flashy and anything that can
make news.
Wrong Message: The negatives in society are highlighted with the purpose of awakening
people about them. For example, the negative effects of addiction are portrayed through
advertisements. Newspapers, television and the Internet are used to convey social messages.
But unfortunately sometimes, the message is misconstrued. The 'awakening' does not reach
everyone or it reaches the masses in the wrong way. So there is a section positively
influenced by the media while there are others who take the wrong message from it. Media
influences them negatively. What is shown with an intent to 'spread a message' ends up
becoming a bombardment of the bad, the ugly. The bad is overinflated and the good goes
unnoticed. Depiction of the bad has a negative impact on kids not mature enough to interpret
what they are being shown. It's not just media to be blamed in this case. Parents and teachers
have a big role to play in selecting what the young should see and what they should not.

Negativity: To some extent, media is responsible for generating negative feelings among
those exposed to it. An early exposure to bold or violent films, books publishing adult content
and news portraying ugly social practices has a deep impact on young minds. If children are
bombarded with fight sequences, stunt work, sex and rape scenes, suicides and murders
through books or movies, they are bound to leave a scar on these impressionable minds. And
not just children, the unpleasant can impact even an adult's mind. Adults may have the
maturity to distinguish between the good and the bad, but bombarding only the bad can affect
anyone at least at the subconscious level. Haven't you had experiences of a bad dream after
watching a violent movie? Or of imagining something scary happening to you after watching
a horror film? Or a sudden fear gripping your mind after reading about a murder in your city?
Role of Media in Society


The reality should be depicted but not so gaudily that it'll have a lasting impact on people's

Unhealthy Lifestyle: Media is held responsible for the change in eating habits of teenagers
and the unhealthy lifestyle they are adopting. You ask me why? Well, because there are these
junk food advertisements everywhere. There's no one advertising the benefits of eating fresh
fruit everyday, no one's promoting drinking 8 glasses of water daily. The benefits of
following a balanced diet are not being hyped anywhere. Media is exposing the masses to fast
food products, canned food, fad diets, and energy drinks. This is leading teenagers to adopt
unhealthy eating habits. No one's propagating the importance of exercising to keep fit. But
there are advertisements of expensive exercise equipment, and weight and fat loss programs.
Watching TV or browsing the web late night is spoiling the sleeping habits of many.

Information Overload: The media in itself is so addictive that once glued to it, you tend to
forget everything else. When you are not watching TV, you are surfing the Internet, when
you are not on the web, you are reading newspapers, when you are not reading anything, you
are listening to something. Thus, all the time, you are glued to some form of media. It is
bombarding you with content, news, information, gossip, rumors - it is exposing you to
everything it has, some things necessary, some not; some things important, some not, some
things you want to ignore, some things you cannot. Media is everywhere, affecting every
aspect of life.

Media Addiction: The negative effects of media on children are manifested in terms of their
changing mental setup and the declining quality of their lifestyle. Children should invest
more time reading good books, studying, playing outdoors and exercising. Due to the oh-so-
alluring media, most of their time is spent glued to the television, reading celebrity gossip,
listening to something sensational or wandering aimlessly on the Internet. With a 'world' of
information and entertainment waiting on the other side of a computer or TV screen, it's not
unnatural for anyone to spend hours exploring it; it's addictive. This affects kids and
teenagers the most, as they are exposed to things they might interpret wrongly or may not
even understand at that age.

Self-hatred: Women with petite bodies and girls with a barbie figure are always shown to be
more popular or attractive while the overweight are portrayed as less popular, having less
friends and being bullied. This leads to a notion that thin is sexy and fat is not. When this
Role of Media in Society


thought grips the minds of youngsters, they take to fad diets or turn to cosmetic surgeries to
get that so-called perfect body. The craze for models or actors and actresses, makes teenagers
want bodies and facial features like theirs. To get rid of a big nose or to get those big pouty
lips, teenagers are ready to go under the knife.

Health Problems: Media has negative effects on the physical and psychological well-being
of society. People spending hours in front of a television or surfing the Internet experience
eye problems. Lack of physical activity leads to obesity problems. Media influences public
opinion and impacts the choices that people make. The media does play a role in portraying
thin as beautiful and fat as ugly. It has led to a general opinion that size-zero is the in thing
and fat and chubby are out. This makes the overweight feel out of place. They are ready to
starve themselves to lose weight. This can, and has led to increasing cases of anorexia. An
inferiority complex and lowered confidence in people with not-so-perfect bodies can lead to
eating disorders. In a survey done on fifth graders by the National Institute on Media and the
Family, it was found that kids had become dissatisfied with their bodies after watching a
video of a certain very popular artiste and a certain scene from a popular TV show (names
omitted on purpose).

Changed Outlook: The media has, in its own way, changed people's outlook towards life.
Media is the interface through which millions look at the world outside. Media claims to
depict the 'today', but not all types of media show only the truth. With the intent of stressing
their point or for grabbing greater attention from the masses, media hypes or exaggerates
things to a certain degree. Not everyone is able to filter that element. Most believe everything
to be real, especially kids and teenagers.

Fact-Fantasy Confusion: Vampires, werewolves, witches, ghosts - where did they come
from? Fairies, superheroes, angels - where did they come from? It's not only media to be
blamed, as these characters belong to folklore. But media did play a role in propagating these
characters and making them seem real. Aren't there ghost and vampire stories that media
claims as real? These characters enter our world through books and movies. There is no
denying their amusement value or entertainment quotient. But isn't it too much to blindly
believe that they exist? Fiction is amusing only till the distinction between fact and fiction is
clear. The reel entertains only till its difference from the real is understood. When the two
worlds mix, life becomes difficult.

Role of Media in Society


Right-or-Wrong Dilemma: The media is so overwhelming that the masses end up believing
everything it says/shows. Media sources are so many in number and all of them so
convincingly make their point, that it is hard to distinguish between right and wrong. The
media is constantly bombarding us with information. How far do we go to check its
authenticity? How deep do we dig to get to the root of something that's making news? How
critically do we judge the reality of reality shows and the truth behind true stories? We don't
think, we believe. We don't judge, we get influenced. And that's how impactive media is.

While a certain amount of exposure to media is essential for introducing ourselves to the
world outside, excessive exposure, uncontrolled access and belief without thought won't lead
us anywhere. They will only make the negative influence of media more obvious.

Role of Media in Society
1. Flow of Information
The flow of information is important for the development of communities and the media facilitates
this. Without a wide array of information, people‟s opinions and views would be limited and their
impressions and conclusions of the world around them stunted.
Historically, the most common form of the distribution of information was word of mouth, with the
news often beginning with the words, “Did you know…”.
Indeed, word of mouth is still one of the most powerful tools in the sharing of information today,
particularly in tourism, but technology has allowed for this exchange to take place in an instant,
forging the way for bigger and better media houses with the instant access to information with the
instant gratification factor.

2. Interpreters/surveillance guys
Media workers are in essence interpreters of information. All of us at some point have been to the
library to do research for a paper or report, sifting through piles and piles of information to support a
thesis in 1,000 words or more, or to simply explain an event, situation, or person.
Journalists in the media do much the same. They don‟t just provide pages of facts and statistics that
the average person might not understand. Instead, they weed out the important issues and points,
putting them in a context that the average reader and listener can make sense of in order to form
their own opinions.
Role of Media in Society


How terrible would it be if we all had to sift through piles of documentation and statistics, or sit
through press conferences, just to find out that the price of rice in China has risen?
Journalists provide the six basic areas of information: Who, what, where, why, and how. Most of
the time, that‟s all we need to know.
In this way, the media keeps us focussed on the issues that matter in a surveillance-type way.
Some aspects of media surveillance include the latest stock report, sports scores, entertainment
news, progress and results of an election, and so forth.

3. Watchdogs
While the media has historically been viewed as being overly aggressive and insatiable in their
plight for the latest and hottest news, their watchdog-type function is essential in a democratic
society where people MUST know what their governments are doing.
The media has the capacity to hold governments accountable, forcing them to explain their actions
and decisions, all of which affect the people they represent.
In a democratic society, people should know all their options if they are to govern themselves, and
the media is a vehicle for the dissemination of such information.
The assumption in some societies is that the press speaks for the people, thus the Freedom of
Speech and Freedom of the Press Acts in the United States and in many other countries. The reason
for Freedom of the Press is to ensure that democracy is able to function, so it is important to
understand that such legislation does not only protect the functions of the press.
With press freedom we then know what the differing views in society are, opening the floor
to debate, and discussion, all of which are healthy functions of a democratic society.
Destructive Role of Media in Pakistan
Media has a significant role to play in the country‟s success. Its duty is to show the truth but
it should not always portray the negative aspects of the country. Qualitative, independent
media reporting can play an important role in pressuring the government to act in the public
interest. It can change opinions because it has access to people and this gives it a lot of
strength. This strength can either be used constructively by educating the people or it can be
used destructively by misleading the innocent people; could spoil everything by diverting the
Role of Media in Society


attention of people from important issues towards insignificant issues. Power of the media
can transform the whole society or it can be used as a „weapon of mass destruction. The
media in Pakistan is playing negatively. It should have been the mirror of society it is
operating in but our media has become the mirror of U.S, India, and the West. Working on
American agenda, for few dollars, corrupt anchors and TV channels are propagating the
negative image of country in front of outer world.
Our media anchors often divert the attention of the people from the real issues to non issues
on behest of the people they are working for. The media is focusing more on sensationalism
than truth creating a negative world view and only highlights the individual sort of issues that
disrepute the society. In my opinion a large section of the Pakistani media does not serve the
interest of the people, in fact some of it is positively anti-people. It often divides the people.
The people, who watch these channels in foreign countries, are for sure constrained to think
that Pakistan is full of ill-cultured, fraudulent and dishonest people who always involve in
crimes etc. The media has totally ignored the important role it should play in this transition
period we are passing through. However, I am not saying that there are no good journalists at
all in the media. There are many excellent journalists too who work for the country, but they
are always under multiple threats.
Some of the channels and media anchors are working for particular political parties. For
instance, the real issues in Pakistan are socio-economic, the terrible poverty in which about
80% of our people are living, the massive unemployment, unbearable load-shedding, the
abnormal price rise, lack of medical care, education, the ruin of institutions, breakage of fiber
of the society, unaffordable higher education, backward social practices like honor killing and
caste oppression, religious fundamentalism and so on never highlighted during the last
regime. Instead of devoting most of its coverage to these vital issues the media focused on
non issues like film stars, fashion parades, individual rape and killing cases, repeated
entertainment programs and talk shows etc. Does a hungry or unemployed man wanted
entertainment or food and a job?
Media groups are owned by corporations that seek to profit, regardless of the consequences.
Major part of media is absolutely non-objective, complete lies, omission of fact; neglect to
report on real news and now false propaganda that could bring the incoming regime under
their pressure. The pressure to produce constant unimportant news, all day, every day, on
single issue tends to result in over representations of that news. For example, when there is
Role of Media in Society


even a minor blast, most of the news channels report almost exclusively on this topic for
hours and ignore news with more significance to people‟s lives. Each news station is
supportive more of one side; biased media. The news covers stories that are more interesting
for ratings and gives their opinions more siding with those who pay them more.
They often suppress facts while exaggerating and misleading. They are an extension of their
political party‟s campaign efforts while pretending to be objective journalists. They follow
distributed talking points and their views are extreme compared to that of the average
Pakistani. They act like they are the elite, and somehow more enlightened, looking down on
the average Pakistani with contempt. The media manipulates facts to distort truths and to
promote their own political agenda. For some money corrupt media anchors of different
channels are destroying our culture and misguiding the youth of country. Malik Riaz ex-
chairman of Bahria Town continued bribing many TV anchors to hide his own and his
favorite PPP‟s corruption from the People of Pakistan. The same segment of media is now
creating a negative perception about incoming regime and propagating negatively just as
pressure tactics to get fulfilled their “demands” in coming days. Journalism in Pakistan is a
failure as well.
Media can play public accountability role by monitoring and investigating the actions of
those who are granted public trust and who may be tempted to abuse their office for private
gain. The media should work to educate the people, to help the people and to liberate the
people and to empower the people. There are times when they should put their personal
interests at the back of their mind and show things that could be beneficial for the country
and its people and please stop this race of breaking first news just be original. Media is a
source of information or communication but now it has been transformed to a source of mere
making money. This should stop. Media should act as a bridge between the governing bodies
and general public instead of being a tool for one class of politicians and falsely propagating
against others to bring them under pressure.
Rights of the media
The media must be able to operate in an environment free of fear. One in which they can
investigate important national issues and express informed opinion without fear of
Role of Media in Society


In order for the media to function effectively, journalists, bloggers, media organizations and
individuals must be allowed to discuss and debate issues freely and safely within
international standards.
Finally, one of the most powerful strengths the media has in any society is the ability to effect
change, both on a social and governmental level.
While my focus in this presentation has been on the role of media in society, it is also important
to acknowledge the responsibility of the media in society.
As journalists they all have the responsibility to report the unbiased, accurate information as it is
received from reliable sources. It is their obligation to obtain all sides of a story, and to report on
both the good and bad stuff.
However, “responsible journalism” also requires a balance of the good and bad stuff in newspapers
and in broadcast reports.

Role of Media in Society