The mass media helps people to keep their culture and heritage alive and to transmit to others. It is the vehicle of social and religious reforms and of political independence. It incidentally purveys news and views. It has a major role as forum for ventilating the views and grievances of the people , as a monitor of the performances of those in authority and as a participant in the process of nation building.
The broadcasting media is expanding rapidly and India is fast emerging as a growth centre for entertainment. It has become an entrenched communication device, effectively operating on whole of the universe across the borders. Hundreds of channels are beaming a vast variety of programmes at a time, into every drawing room. The electronic media evolved into a very powerful global process of influencing the cultures and social patterns of any country. Impounding a small society with visual information will have a very serious cultural impact and may raise ethical and legal questions including international outcry against the cultural invasion.
Advancement of telecommunication also point at issue. The communications field received a great boost up during the times of Indian space scientist Vikram Sarabhai, who launched indigenous satellite development programme which revolutionised the telecommunication and provided for development of Doordarshan in India.
It started with Farm Television in 1967 as a tool of reaching remote areas of the country and to provide them necessary information for improving the Agriculture. Thus television was used first to help the agrarian community rather than for urban entertainment. Another major experiment was the Satellite instructional Television Experiment “SITE” which has put the time available on American Satellite for telecasting programmmes to 2400 villages in six states of the country.
Community radio and TV broadcasting at the local levels have been found to be extremely useful in providing voices to the local community in managing their affairs and participating in overall development process. It has been provided that non commercial organisation such as NGO’s etc,. working for the sole benefit of the community, would be given licences for non commercial broadcasting and educational institutions like universities, would be given licences for broadcasting in their respective areas to facilitate better education and communication on the basis of either a restricted bid or no bid at all.
The electronic media, especially a public service broadcaster is an important and a potent tool for the social and cultural development for people. This implies narrowcasting to local audiences, especially the disadvantaged and deprived sections of the population in terms of literacy, incomes, gender, social status, rural and peripheral locations and lack of access generally. It must also cater to special needs and interests and encourage interactive and participative broadcasting.
Simultaneously, media also has certain obligations to the society. These are informativeness, truth, accuracy, objectivity, and balance. Media cannot function in a vaccum. Media and society are independent and mutually influential. Media shapes the society and gets shaped by the society. Its duty is to inform the people and act as an opinion leader.