Role of Newspapers for Society Today
Newspapers have an important place in the world today. The presence of newspapers is must on the breakfast table. They are the mirrors of the world. The press is referred to as the fourth pillar of democracy. Newspapers are the mightiest of the mighty. They are the custodian of truth and human rights. They serve the mouthpiece of the public. They are the link between the people and their government.
We are living in an age of space ships and jumbo-jets. The world is a small unit. We can not remain cut off from others. We have to know the latest developments taking place all over the world. The newspapers tell us about various developments in the social, political and economic and spheres.
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How it works
Newspapers give us the latest news. It is the first and foremost function of a newspaper to bring news from North, East, West and South, that is, from all parts of the world. A newspaper touches all topics and satisfies all classes of readers- statesman, students, politicians, sportsmen, public men, travellers, scientists, scholars and businessmen. It tells unemployed people where to apply for a job. Chronic bachelors and sisters can go through matrimonial advertisements and get life partners.
Besides giving us news from all parts of the globe, the newspapers possess literary value. Articles by well-known writers, views and reviews by able critics – all enlighten us. They contain much material of a permanent nature.
Newspapers are a very powerful tool of propaganda. They shape public opinion. The leading articles in a newspaper influence the readers who form their opinion about an issue mainly on the basis of arguments containing in the leading articles. A newspaper is a sort of public platform through which we can criticise the government.
Newspapers also good means of advertisement. Businessmen, manufacturers and industrialists advertise their goods through them. The modern man is deeply influenced by the advertisements and he buys those goods which are most advertised in the newspapers. Moreover, they serve as our companions during a journey. During the days of the war, newspapers boast the morale of the public by playing up the heroic exploits of our defence services. They sometimes expose the high- handedness of government officials. During election days they educate the voters about the merits and demerits of individual candidates.
Newspapers arose national consciousness and raise the mental and moral standards of the people. When some misfortune or calamity overtakes a particular part of the country. Newspapers make us aware of the condition of the people in distress and appeal to the people for help. Many newspapers collect defence and flood relief funds.
Newspapers are said to be the ears and eyes of the world. They no doubt report the various events that take part in different parts of the world. They also reflect the reactions of the people. They play a good role in moulding public opinion. Great leaders like Gandhiji and Nelson Mandella used the newspaper to awaken their countrymen from their slumber. The British newspapers aroused the conscience of the English people by inviting their attention to the miserable condition of the British soldiers wounded at Scutari. Gandhiji used the newspaper to remove untouchability from the country.
The press has an ugly side also. Sometimes the press presents news and views through coloured glasses. Newspapers with leftist leanings are very critical of papers with slightest views. Communal newspapers fan communal hatred and riots. Newspapers should adopt a code of conduct by which they should report news and views in an objective and impartial manner.