Media refers to the communication channels through which we transmit news, music, movies, education, promotional messages, advertisements and other data. This includes print and online newspapers and magazines, television, radio, billboards, telephone, Internet, fax and billboards. From the point of view of value development, media builds the ability to think in a desired manner and deal with issues related to values. The role of mass media is becoming increasingly important in influencing values.
The positive role of media in shaping our values
(1) Elimination of stereotypes: Media is more likely to influence our beliefs (moral values) about reality when a person does not have direct experience to rely on. For example, the injustice done to transgenders is due to stereotypes which is now getting reduced due to the plight spread by the media. The recent Supreme Court decision to exempt Section 377 of the IPC from decriminalization is also educative. It sensitizes people to be kind, sympathetic and compassionate by the media.
(2) Concepts about the world: How does the media influence us in a way by shaping our subjective understanding of reality i.e. “Beliefs” about the world, what it is and how it works? For example, films made on various social issues like child labour, untouchability, human trafficking depict the real plight of the victims. Media has helped in dealing with many such issues through awareness, education of the people.
Attitude: Media research has shown that the intention to actively change social attitudes did not work in early media campaigns. Instead, ironically, people are being persuaded by media messages that were not even designed to change attitudes or behaviour. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, for example, is primarily a change in attitudes and attitudes towards cleanliness and hygiene. Media and celebrities have influenced people to keep their surroundings clean by imbibing civic spirit with their SBM challenges.
“Identity” as a factor of socialization: Any individual acquires values and lifestyle through imitation of “social actors” especially present-day generation. The acquired unit of values is not given, but it is the result of the action. For example, the media has played a major role in making Delhi gang rape victim Damini the center of attention with high level discussions on the methods to be adopted to stop these horrific crimes.
Transparency and Accountability: The involvement of media in various walks of life has increased the accountability of many responsible persons. This has increased the credibility of the devotees. For example e-governance, the RTI Act has brought in the values of accountability and transparency between the government and its functionaries.