Since the late 19th century until the early 20th century, was a time known for the extreme change that it brought to the world by its breakthroughs in technology; the 100 years of that century, are filled with inventions that have changed the dynamic and the ancient cultures that were once adopted by us. There are a long lists of devices and machines invented down the years, but the burst of most influential ones can be narrowed down. Our lives are surrounded by the small electric-powered devices, without which we claim, we cannot survive are; Mobile phones, Tablets, Portable Computers (laptops) and portable music players; we depend on these for the convenience it brings to our social and work life, we use them to feed our hunger for entertainment and amusement, etc. In the midst of these devices, there lies one that earned the title of the ‘Fourth Estate’ along with, newspapers on print.
It is an amusing fact to know that, in the earlier times, having a radio was quite a big deal; the early forms of a radio resembled the washing machine of today. Radio provided musical programmes and periodical stories, discussions and such to fill in the gaps; we have leaped ages since that time, and such technology would be obsolete. The radio was introduced after the success of the telephone invented by Alexandra Graham Bell; telephonic conversations were possible by the assistance of a piece of technology known as transistor invented by Marconi in 1905, which could send and receive sound waves, over long distances. Slowly this led to the ideation of a device that could transmit, visual as well as aural signals to many mediums, which led to the successive invention of television, achieved by Scottish inventor, John Logie Baird, in the 1920s. There has been a simultaneous growth in both, the culture and our way of life; in many ways the both are interdependent, and a change in one part, affects the other; however it is still a question unanswered, whether the digital changes have been for the better.
However the intention with which the technology was invented, is not serving the same purpose today; mediums such as radio and television were invented to serve us in having a stabilised and informed society by disseminate useful information, and news to people. There was entertainment, but it was family-friendly and offered peaceful and loving messages, and the people were more in touch with their social and moral duties. Today all the mediums have taken a vulgar and immoral turn, especially television news and such. Every channel in this medium aims to increase their Television Rating Points (TRP); to achieve that, they degrade that medium, a medium which was created as a bridge between people and their elected leaders; a medium that displayed the news worldwide, keeping you informed. The formation of the fourth estate in a democratic country, was this, the media; it began disseminating the information and world scenarios in print and as the media evolved into a digital format, the fourth estate shared three mediums, which are: Television News; Newspapers; and Radio, now it has spread even wider with handheld machines, which possess the information of the universe as we know it.
I noticed the change that these noble mediums have undergone, through a conversation I shared with an elderly friend of mine, Mr Mukherjee. At about dinner time, when I shared the couch with Mr Mukherjee and we jointly stared at the entertaining discussions, and below the belt rebuttals, that were being aired on a news channel, that night; all of a sudden he said with a sigh and a loss of hope, “It wasn’t always like this”; he was perhaps saddened by the extreme change that he explained to me about. The change he held a grief for wasn’t of the rude and uneducated politicians, it was of the commercialism that had made them so; reports on journalists who have given a biased report of a side, news channels using content that favoured a particular side, and of course the politicians. He explained the purity of this medium, which after the end of our conversation, I could understand.
If you take a look around as you walk down a street to visit a friends; or venture on an evening walk, you will observe, that the people around you have their head tilted forward, viewing the impeccable screen of their feature phone; we all have been addicted the this and are obsessed of it almost all the time: while crossing the road, waiting at the bus stop, or enjoying a brew in the comfort of a café. The information of the whole world, at the fingertips of every person, and yet we stray, clueless to the events that surround us.
No matter the extent of the polluted water, if we all did our part right, the ecosystem would restore the balance that once was. The same can apply to the conditions that worsen, in any part of life; as long as you realise and rectify your faults, the ecosystem of any institution or beyond will restore itself. The nobility of the fourth estate, still has their good apples; and in this case, I hope that the good apples will influence and cure the rotten apples. “Our job is to hold up the mirror – to tell and show the public what has happened”, quoted by Walter Cronkite, a distinguished member of the press, and famous for his 19 years of service to CBS Evening News.