Change and Media

In human terms, one critical obstacle that stands in the way of societal change is fear. Although fear is a natural phenomenon, it has been used as an instrument by which people are ruled. For instance, the fear of guns, fear of losing privileges, fear of being tagged, fear of responsibilities and fear of change. But, once people can take off that coat of fear, the powerful are no longer powerful and those in power become powerless because they no longer possess the power of fear over people. 

Aung San Suu Kyi states “It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those subject to it.” Mahatma Gandhi recognized that those in power need the powerless to survive, and that once the powerless understand that fact, they will act accordingly.

It is within this spectrum of emotions that the media is located. Media undoubtedly needs to be part of the critical yeast that kindles critical consciousness that empowers people to make informed decisions. Unfortunately though, empirical truth reveals that media too can fall on either side. Therefore it is essential to analyze whether the media in the context of your reality, is an instrument that facilitates constructive change, or caters to vested interest that governs a given society, which ultimately becomes a victim to lies and fear. 

Broadly speaking, there are opinions who say it is not the business of media to intervene; and that its role is only to report. However, there is growing opinion which argues that the media and conflict debate is not about taking sides, except to uphold and promote the side of justice and peace. It asserts that the media is ‘already’ a third party and therefore it is their moral principle to use that access constructively for empowering people.

There is an overwhelming need for media to go beyond describing a situation merely in terms of position. Lies and rumors have become the touchstone of the present and that is also part of the reason why people no longer trust one another. Therefore, media has to go beyond the headlines and uncover the story behind the headline. The media must inform people by telling the truth - the truth of the people - and to promote an understanding led by facts and not by the lies.  

In a society that has been crippled by overwhelming circumstances, the media has to critically facilitate the growth of critical consciousness and thinking. The media must ensure the vibrancy and dynamism of the Nagas and it should develop a deeper understanding of realities. Thus, the media needs to realize the sensitivity and the importance of their roles in the process of change and to empower people to overcome fear.