Essay on Newspapers and Magazines:
With the development of the printing press newspapers and magazines are published in all languages all the world over. There are dailies, weeklies, monthlies, etc. They are the torchlight of democracy because they reflect the conditions and thoughts of people. They are the guardians of the rights of the public and always fight for their just cause as also for their welfare. The press wields a great power today. It raises a voice of protest if there is something unjust or wrong in the policy of the government. A poet has, therefore, well said about the power of the press-
|Mightiest of the mighty means|
On which the arm of progress leans,
Man’s noblest mission to advance,
His woes assuage, his weal enhance,
His rights enforce, his wrongs redress,
Mightiest of the mighty is the Press.
It is a mirror of the world. Pick it up in the morning and it will show you what has happened in the world up to last night. Let a scientist make a discovery or a leader make a speech, the newspaper will make a note of it and the magazine will comment upon it. In other words, newspapers and magazines are the records of the life of every nation and the diary of the human race. They give a glimpse of social changes, political movements, economic developments, and whatnot.
There are people who can forego morning meals, but not the morning paper and the monthly magazine which speaks of their popularity.
A newspaper or a magazine because of the wide publicity it enjoys is the real recorder of the public voice. This is why Pndit Nehru said, “The Press is our master.” The various articles and letters to the Editor that are published in the columns of a newspaper show the working of the mind of the public, its grievances, its appreciation of the Government, and even its adverse criticism. The leading articles published in responsible newspapers like the “Times of India” or the “Statesman”, being comments on the policy of the Government or an impartial view of the political or other situation, serve an average man in an admirable manner. He remains so absorbed in his own affairs that he cannot find enough time to decide things for himself. The newspaper or the magazine editor does the job for him. The readers get their ready-made opinions from the newspaper.
Another use of newspapers and magazines is that they help considerably in exposing the evils and exalting the good.
They act as a public inquisitor and no one, however highly placed might be, can escape their attack.
A newspaper or a magazine is a great means of propaganda when some calamity has befallen. By ceaseless agitation through the columns of a paper, the press can assist in raising public funds, charities, and other endowments to relieve the sufferers of their distress.
The Press is a great boon to the businessman of today. Through the advertisement columns of a paper, one can sell or buy one’s goods. The quotations of market prices serve another useful purpose. They enable a person to know the condition of the world market.
The pen is mightier than the sword. A good newspaper is also an important piece of literature. It contains valuable articles on scientific inventions, arts, literature, politics, etc. There are magazine sections in the Sunday editions of important newspapers. They give us wide information and add to our knowledge.
A newspaper or a magazine also contains matrimonials. It brings together the master and the servant, the government and the governed. There are matrimonial columns that enable the parties to arrange the marriages of their children and wards.
But the Press has also heavy responsibilities to discharge. It must be above all prejudices or bias and should take great care to keep a healthy and non-party tone. Nowadays a newspaper is usually a party organ. It employs all its energies in upholding the views of a particular political party to which it has devoted its services. This is not entirely a wicked policy in itself, but generally, we find excesses committed in the name of a party. Regular warfare is started in the Press and each party wilfully runs down even the good practices of the other.
The Press should always be on the side of truth and justice. The newspapers mold public opinion. The majority of readers are uncritical. They do not think for themselves. They go to the newspaper to take their opinion ready-made. The Press should exercise this duty with great caution.
Cowper called the Press an ‘ever bubbling spring of endless lies’. This is not entirely false. Nowadays, the Press is sometimes directed to propagate selfish motives and is even employed to deceive others. Irresponsible papers write against people and try to injure their reputations. In this way, they get hush money. The government should check such malpractices.
The role of the Press in a democratic country is really great. It guides and molds public opinion. At the same time, it reflects the public opinion. And it is the public opinion that guides the government. So it is the Press that controls the public opinion. So it should conclude itself with great responsibility.