Role of Visual Media in Society

Today, mass media, particularly visual media, plays a critical role in instilling a sense of awareness in society. Visual media refers to various communication channels or methods by which knowledge and information are conveyed to viewers or readers via knowledge, television, cinema, posters, and so on. Whatever is delivered through visual media has an immediate and long-lasting impact on the minds of the viewers.

With the rapid development of information and technology, visual media in the form of cable TV, with a plethora of domestic and foreign channels reaching almost every home, play an important role in shaping public opinion in a variety of ways. It is extremely important in educating and entertaining the general public. Cable television has altered the modes and means of entertainment and education. Sitting in front of a television, one can pass the time by listening to music, watching movies, learning bodybuilding techniques, hearing sermons of religious saints, learning about the lives of wild animals, birds, and water creatures, knowing about space, and so on.

During the election season, one can learn about the positions of political parties, their leaders, events in each region of the country and their impact on election campaigning, and all other aspects of electioneering by sitting at home in front of the television.

Youngsters and teenage students are now seen watching channels based on their preferences; for example, some are seen watching music, while others are seen quenching their thirst for knowledge by watching channels such as ‘discovery,’ National Geography, or History, and so on. Thus, the image on the small screen has a significant impact on everyone, but especially on impressionable children and teenagers.

The young mind accepts the reel as real and is thus more easily molded and motivated by visual media. Today’s fashion, hairdressing, sexual liberties, dating, and awakening to children’s rights, as well as women’s rights, are all a result of the role that visual media has played in society. There is nothing wrong if visual media has such an emphatic effect on viewers, but channel owners must understand that if they show something of a violent nature, or a sexual ritual such as a rape scene, or a naked scene, it can undermine the positivity of the role to be played by the media.

In a hysterical attempt to outperform the competition, some channels show scenes and images that are irrelevant and harm viewers’ minds. The channels have crossed the line of ethics and morality by showing sexual and rape cases, with minute details provided by the anchor, and showing brutal scenes of murder. The television coverage of the massacre in Gandhi Nagar Akshardham, Godhra, with the burnt and churned bodies of victims lying in the bogies and outside, instills hatred in the communities and inspires others to seek vengeance. Obsessed by the monoamine of making fast bucks, the channels are competing with one another to stoop to any kind of absurdity, without considering even for a minute as to what effect such visuals have on society.

Whether the visual media haVe no responsibility towards society? Whether the visual media should not desist from visualizing such scenes that are of inflammatory nature?

It is argued that the role of the media is to bring reality to the public, but how does showing mutilated burnt churned bodies help society or our nation? Some of the channels are playing an important role in awakening the common man against corruption, the rotten outdated rites that continue to pollute society, superstitions, the killing of the female unborn child, and other societal evils. These are all very positive developments that have resulted in the authorities being on high alert and the government taking steps in the right direction.

Cinema

Cinema is also a very important visual medium, a source of entertainment for the world’s vast population. With cable TV being cheaper and having a plethora of channels available, the number of cinema-goers has decreased significantly; however, it has a significant impact on the youth’s lifestyle, fashioning, and dressing patterns, among other things. Modern cinema has become obsessed with violence and sex, and the obscenity depicted in films has contributed to a gradual increase in crime and violence in society.

Nowadays, youth and teens are observed imitating the characters portrayed on screen—copying the styles of heroes, enticing and teasing the girls. The vulgar and sexual scenes in movies have a very negative and detrimental effect on the minds of the impressionable youth. Some of the effects of today’s movies include modern-day goondaism, college and high school boys and girls falling in love, and girls wearing revealing dresses.

Other visual media

Aside from theaters, several video parlors have sprouted up in cities, secretly showing adult movies and blue films. Vulgar and naked sex scenes encourage youth to commit crimes such as rape, eve-teasing, kidnapping, and so on, and divert them in very wrong directions, ruining their lives to the core.

As a result, visual media has an emphatic and motivating effect on society. The administration must censor the negative and harmful aspects of visual media. Films must be made with moral and noble ethical values that have an educative and patriotic impact on society. Rape scenes, obscenities, and crude violence must be made punitive by giving extra-legal teeth to IPC Sec. 292 (sale of obscene books), Section 293 (Obscene act and songs), and the indecent representation of women (Prohibition) Act 1986, so that the visual media can actually play a role in positive social changes, education, patriotism, and curbing corruption and evils prevalent in society.