Today we have the BBC Television Channel too, beaming programmes through satellite to Television; with viewers having access to these programmes in their sitting rooms.
But it is a different scene today with a fierce competition between different channels like CNN and ABC of U.S.A, the B.B.C of London and Star Network, all claiming to have the largest viewership. All these channels have a variety of programmes and are not limited to news only. They further have specialized channels beaming programmes related to one nature only, be it music, cinema or sports. The viewers can veritably splurge on these programmes.
Another major channels which cater to the young and old alike are the Discovery channel and National Geographic channels. The mysteries of nature, latest advances of science and medicine are all there to be viewed. The printed word in the media has been a major contributing factor in formulating the people’s good wishes or wrath on policies of government or corruption and moribund bureaucracy. It was the media which was a major factor in highlighting the excesses of officialdom during Emergency. The media of the day has undergone a revolution. No more is the media restricted to the printed word. They are now on air, both radio and television and even the internet. They have become all encompassing and their attitude has also evolved to the probing eye of the level of omnipresent and omnipotent.
The role of the media today as a positive factor in the process of development of our country cannot be minimized and now with the advent of media on Television it has been the complete evolution. News channels like CNN, Aaj Tak, BBC, Zee News etc. have brought news live into our sitting rooms. The Iraq War, the Action in Afghanistan, the terrorists with 700 hostages in theatre hall with demand for Russian withdrawal from Chechnya, the recent efforts at a fair and free poll in Kashmir, the Rajdhani train tragedy, World Cup Football, World Cup Cricket, the Olympics and what not are now available live to the interested. It has been the redeeming feature of very powerful medium which has the power to propagate or corrupt any culture. Unfortunately, with the resources of Cable TV, we are also open to foreign channels, totally alien to our culture.
The new generation, the youth are definitely being impressed with the alien culture of short dresses, promiscuity and violence. These are totally in a different vein with our culture. In fact the younger generation is even moving away from newspapers and latching on to television for media coverage.
It may be safely interpreted that this viewing is not limited to news channels only. No doubt there are several interesting and educative channels too like National Geographic and Discovery which make sincere efforts to update us to the state of our ecology, for a and fauna and the dangers to them due to our irresponsible and greedy nature. Long hours of television viewing have led to our younger generation becoming couch potatoes. In Western countries the television is also called the ‘Idiot Box.’ The World Psychiatric Association has been reported to have stated that “long hours of TV watching could result in the child being unable to come with realistic solutions to real life problems. The time spent on social interaction is decreasing due to TV, video and video games.” It is now imperative that parents take up this duty on themselves if they want their offspring to grow up as healthy young persons instead of persons suffering from psychological disorders.
They owe this as dutiful citizens of nation. Here a relevant point must be raised which speaks highly of the Advantages of Television. Knowledge gathered through the printed media are more likely to be relegated to the darker side of ones memory whereas knowledge gained through the visual medium have the advantage of being etched on ones memory. This is relevant for both young and old. Even children find the visual medium more easily on the mind.
Many schools in developed countries are now resorting to this medium. Along with teaching classes and lectures, students are encouraged to attend classes where they are shown experiments, researches and their results through this visual media, actually proving to them that the theories being taught to them have been experimented and proved through results. Entertainment is an object every human being needs to get away from the drab and dreary existence of everyday like. This has different meaning for different persons and may vary from classical music to hard rock, from mainstream cinema to the off beat artistic genre, from the soothing monotony of golf to the nail biting finish of one-day cricket matches or the exhilarating and more mainly football. Persons are also looking for entertainment in wrestling federation to the blood curdling sport of matadors and their Bull fighting. Boxing specially the WBC and WBA matches of heavy weight are of course a costlier proposition which can only be seen through ‘pay per view’ channels. All these modes of entertainment are available to the common man with limited resources which in itself is a great achievement.
A tournament being played in far off Sydney is beamed live on these channels and the viewer gets the feel of the match and the thrill of seeing it live for which otherwise he would have to spend thousands of US dollars – an expense beyond his reach. It is indeed remarkable by any standards. The love for cinema is quite common. Most of us love to view a realistically portrayed good story. This may be a romantic blockbuster or the small budget artistic film. Man is always an escapist and the tries to escape into story lane by being a part of it. Cinema when viewed at the movie halls may definitely be more thrilling due to the wide cameras and more’ realistic sound but it’s an expensive and time consuming proposition.
What could be better than seeing the best while sitting in your most comfortable easy chair with your family around you. It does minimize the negative powers of viewing on a smaller screen. Fantasy world at home is the positive aspect. We can go on elaborating the positive aspects of television and its impact on the social structure of today’s world but as all good things and somewhere we must pay heed to the negative factors and influences of this wonder box.
The cultural differences between these countries and ours are another point to be mooted. We have an altogether, totally different culture from theirs. All the values are now going haywire with the blatant display on television of flirting, romance, extra- marital sex and divorces. Excess of anything is band and what is needed today is strict censorship of these channels so that our principles, values and cultures are not eroded but who is to be blamed for the excesses, not television only.
Television continues to be a wondrous marvel of the 20th century.