It's not the fear of war or the risk of coronavirus that has entirely overwhelmed life today. Rather innumerable reports on conflicts and the pandemic have made people bored with the way they have to live.
The state of mental health, for some people, is in question. Many others are not getting what they are looking for - a 'feel good' situation or a business as usual scenario.
So, can newsmen -- professional and amateur alike -- offer the readers and viewers any relief from pains and disturbances they suffer for blunt, trendy reporting and writing?
The media, especially newspapers, were often blamed for spreading what journalists and journalism experts termed NEWS and the aggrieved ones considered negative reports or even cynicism.
The 20th century's ladies and gentlemen used to begin their days by reading the news on printed papers. They did so to learn about the world and the media was accepted as the third estate to address social ills.
In the age of social media, people read news items and watch video clips on networking sites as part of their efforts to know and find entertainment. They still remain curious and unsatisfied after browsing hundreds of virtual pages.
Thus it seems that something is missing from their sight! In Bangla, that may be called Shukhobor, a weak translation of which could be 'good news'. People look for a soothing feature in news reports as they long for bliss in the course of living.
If the newspapers had once affected the mood of the readers, the new media are now making the users completely restless.
The media consumers are yet searching for peace by changing the home (pages) on the virtual world. Instead they themselves are getting engaged in war of words or meeting some hostile minds who expose their cultural vulnerabilities devoid of refinement.
So, the Ukraine war and civil wars in the Middle East do not fully touch them when they are preoccupied with own exposure plus livelihoods struggle more often than not. The restless 'self' on the net has been so prominent that s/he doesn't carefully watch anything unless s/he is already motivated or something is really unique to him/her. In the process of scrutiny, they tire of most contents.
A song is gaining popularity or proving a flop very fast on the internet which has made theatre, radio, and television somewhat redundant.
In the context of Bangladesh, it's found that hardly any new songs are winning the heart of the listeners unlike a massive popularity of Bangla music in the old days of gramophone records, cassette players and radio broadcasting. Mystic songs of rural Bangladesh of bygone era are being sung by nogor (urban) bauls. This shows poverty in lyrics and composition of music based on contemporary life and society.
The online media has also opened the window of opportunity for 'creative' people to reach a higher audience relatively easily. There are motivational speakers and preachers who've managed to secure millions of followers on the net.
The resources available online were unthinkable only a few decades ago. However, most of the people don't access the serious reading materials when many of them complain that others are losing the habit of reading. Some readers don't miss rumours, misinformation and disinformation that somehow reach their walls.
Such a situation indicates education is essential for every citizen to know what to know from countless items of information of various natures on the web.
It is not possible to discover 'good news' on newspaper pages or websites unless such 'news' elements are present and produced in life and society.
The media, too, have the responsibility to search for 'the news as it is' and present them for public consumption. All bad things in society can be reported without creating panic and for helping bring positive changes.
Therefore, it's time to get rid of old social habits of taking a position with pro- and anti- mind-set and using inflammatory language for coverage of news and analysis of issues. That's applicable not just for newsmen. Social appreciation of an independent media benefits society and the media professionals can serve people accordingly.