Youth and Media
Youth, between the age group of 15-35, constitute nearly one-third of India's population. They constitute an important target segment for the policy makers and their views have to be taken into consideration before framing and implementing a policy by the government, which may affect them both directly and indirectly. So, also are the youth of the country who have completed their higher education and are in the process of taking up jobs in various walks of life. This vibrant and strong resource of the country is motivated and mobilized to serve their motherland.
In order that the youth may grow up in a conducive atmosphere, a lot of preparation and care has to be taken by the government to see that they are guided properly and grow up in good setting so that they can become better citizens tomorrow. Thus, the government has a definite role to play in this process. The youth are to be brought up well and they have to be provided with every facility available within their means for a healthy and proper growth. The educational system provided to them has a responsibility to see that they are groomed well and are well prepared to meet the challenges that may be posed to them in tomorrow's world.
The Government has evolved a National Youth Policy. Its main objectives are to instill in the youth respect for the principles and values enshrined in our Constitution; to promote among them an awareness of our historical and cultural heritage; to help develop in them the qualities of discipline, self-reliance, justice and fair play; and to provide the youth with maximum access to education in addition to developing their personality. It also aims at making the youth conscious of international issues and involving them in promoting world peace and just international economic order.
The Government has set up the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development. Its objectives are training, documentation, research and evaluation and extension work for all youth related activities in the country. It also function as a research agency and think-tank for youth programmes, policies and implementation strategies; to develop multi-faceted programmes for youth; function as an Institute for advanced studies in the field of youth; function as a Centre for documentation, information and publication pertaining to youth development and work as a Resource Centre.
The media has a positive role to play in moulding children and youth. This role is not given or authorised by anyone but the media is vested with this role by itself. Media moulds the character of citizens by providing information, education and entertainment to them. Media also acts as the forum for public discussion and debate thus providing an opportunity for citizens to express their ideas and vent their feelings. When it comes to youth, media provides to them not only information but also educates them on various aspects of the society pertaining to their higher studies, moral and spiritual growth and entertainment needs, etc.
Media in India has to bear in mind that it has to be socially responsible in order to survive and carry on its course of work naturally. Article 19(1)(A) of the Indian Constitution talks about freedom of expression and speech. This covers the freedom of press too. This theoretically means that the media is free to do anything that pleases it. But it is bound by certain limitations and self-imposed moral obligations.
With the increasing involvement of private sector in the media, particularly the electronic media, which has tremendous influencing power; both positive and negative, the media has to play with restraint and foresight so as to channelize the youth and develop in them the spirit of national pride, respect for India's cultural heritage and responsibility for environmental issues besides social cohesiveness and empowerment of the deprived section of population. In a highly commercial competitive atmosphere, government has to evolve minimum regulatory regime to ward off undesirable elements trying to exploit the passions of youth and the impressionable minds of the children.
In their book 'Four Theories of Press', the authors Fred Siebert, Theodore Peterson and Wilbur Schramm talk about different theories of press. According to them, there are four theories of the press, namely, Authoritarian theory, Libertarian theory, Social Responsibility theory and Soviet Community theory. While, discussing about Social Responsibility theory, they say that media can be free but it has to be socially responsible. By socially responsible, they mean that the media has to exhibit responsibility while covering events of public importance and while reporting controversial events. This media philosophy is a 20th century concept and has come from the newly liberated countries from colonial regimes. The media should be responsible to the society because journalism plays an important role in the lives of the people of these countries. They further argue that the media has to sacrifice freedom when reporting events of controversial nature.
The media needs to be socially responsible in a number of ways and some of these are as follows:
By being socially responsible, it participates in the development process of the country and accelerates the process of development. There always existed a close relationship between the media and culture. Media plays a pivotal role in promotion of culture and sustaining it also. It helps culture grow with newer thinking and new hopes. Media brings to the doorsteps of the people all that is happening the world over. It makes the youth of a country aware of global social changes, developments, innovations, research and experiments being carried out in various fields aiming at changing the very human existence for betterment, etc. It inculcates in the youth the desire to learn more and more and imbibe the fast changing technologies and development processes while competing and vying with each other.
Youth and Media play a healthy role in a developing country such as ours. However, there are problems that crop up from time to time in their relationship. These need to be resolved amicably in order to benefit the ultimate public aspirations and expectations.