Media has been considered as fourth pillar of democracy, where everyone has right to expression. With its vast reach, mass media is called ‘ the magic multiplier’ which demonstrates its powerful impact. Because mass media is a platform to highlight social, political, cultural, global issues alongside the voices of common people to attract the attention of governing body towards the matters at hand, media also plays role of a awareness agent. It is a tool in the hands of both people and organizations to discuss the issues of high importance. UN also lays great emphasis on the utility of mass media to spread awareness about development plans, SDG and programs. Since the heavy industrialization and development in past century has posed a threat to the ecosystem of our planet, the whole world has awaked from its deep sleep. UN has laid sustainable development goals to the signatory countries to achieve Environment eco-harmony by reducing pollution, plastic waste, and emission of CO2 etc. In this direction, UN has clearly pointed at media in spreading awareness about the need of sustainable development, preservation of forests and eco-system. It lays heavy responsibility on the shoulders of mass media to plays its role of ‘magic multiplier’. This paper will analyze the role of Print Media in spreading awareness of environmental issues by doing qualitative analysis of the national dailies. To complete this study, content analysis will be done of two national dailies in English and Hindi language following a Comparative analysis of the both.
Environment degradation has been the hot topic since last century. The first two decades of the twenty century have seen great violation and excessive use of natural resources resulting in depletion of environment on earth followed by extreme de-forestation to accommodate the increasing industry and population. This violent use of natural resources resulted in climate change and global warming issues which are not a threat to one single nation but to whole earth and habitat on earth. This wrath is faced by human kind along with other species existing on earth and water. The increased emission of CO2 and other green house gases has resulted in increase in earth temperature resulting in the melting of glaciers. The increased pollution has contaminated not only the soil but the air and water also. Seeing the degrading condition of environment, the UN (United Nations) has come up with certain resolutions for the protection and conservation of the environment. The countries are encouraged to shift towards green energy rather than relying on fossil fuels. Right to a safe, healthy and ecologically-balanced environment has been added into Human Rights by UN. UN has put great focus on the use of media for the use of spreading awareness about it among people. Citizens of earth can make great contribution in the conservation of environment by minimizing the use of products and services which are hazardous to nature. It has been seen that people are not aware about the environment issues and the causes of it. In this regard, media need to take up the education role to spread awareness and contribute in the conservation of the environment.
Media is known as a communication tool which caters to various needs and demands of the people like information, entertainment, awareness etc. Media as a whole includes newspapers, magazines, billboards, TV, radio, new media, telephone etc. With the advancement of technology, role and face media has changes. It has reached to even the remote areas of nation where there was no source of information few years back. With the advent of new media and internet, the reach of other media has multiplied. Today, if one is travelling can watch TV or listen to radio or even read newspaper on the go with the help of over the top services. Media reach increases the participation of people in media and thus enables communication. Media can play a vital role in conservation of environment and environment communication. Media has maximum reach to people and thus can spread awareness about the crisis earth is facing. It can pass on the versatile type of information with the help of news, articles, features and photographs in case of print and documentaries, bulletins and special shows in case of radio and TV.
Print media is the oldest form of media adopted by people. Even in the era of digital media, print has kept the pace with the changes in the arena of communication. Additionally, the print media carries a legacy of authenticity and credibility since centuries which plays a great role in the behavior change of readers after reading the news or information. People read the paper first thing in the morning with their tea which reflects the importance of paper in day to day life of a reader. Coverage of the news related to the hazards or conservation of environment results in awareness of the people about the issues. Mass media conducts research on environment issues that brings insight in the issue and creates greater impact on reader. Often it is seen that people are not aware how their daily activities are affecting the environment and when media informs about it, they feel responsible on individual level for the climate issues and tend shift towards sustainable lifestyle in harmony with the ecology of the planet. This paper is focused on studying the coverage given to climate issues and environment conservation by the selected newspapers: The Hindu, The Tribune and Dainik Jagran. The selected papers are of national level and have larger circulation thus have vast reach to the people which could have wider impact of the information shared by the media.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
Saikia, R. (2017). states that the activities related to environment awareness run by the media and anti-environment degradation clubs and organizations have been unsuccessful. Not only rural population but also the urban people remained unaware about the destruction of environment and its protection. The main cause for environment crisis faced by country lies in the lack of proper management and utilization of natural resources. To achieve the objectives and goals for environment protection, people need to be aware about the environment crisis and media can be the best medium for it. Media has indispensible role to play in spreading awareness and sensitizing people for the environment crisis.
Kiplimo, K. G. & Dr. Obiri, J. (2015). discussed that media can play vital role in educating people about the issues of global warming and climate change. It is the responsibility of individuals to conserve and protect their environment and media can play a vital role in taking up education of environment and spreading it to people. Apart from policy framing, media needs to unfold education and embrace teaching role. The environment content needs to be projected in right and flawless manner by explaining the causes and effect of climate issues and suggest the action to taken to curb the same.
Kapoor, N. (2011). explained that mass media has not been successfully used for spreading the awareness about environment issues which hindered the adoption of advance farming technologies by respondents. It is high time for mass media to develop effective communication strategy to bring awareness and extension of advance techniques in the area of agriculture among the people of Shringverpur village, in Allahabad district. In order to aware the locals about the conservation of natural resources, effective policies and communication plans are required. In this scenario, the media has crucial role to play for science communication and in bridging the gap between people and science.
Kaur, A. & Dr Chahal, H. S. (2018) described that social media uses has strong relation with environment awareness. The respondents agreed to the idea of sharing and exchange of information of such portals. They have an urge to information and this increases their level of understanding about environment issues and they also want to contribute in the same.
Sypsas , A. , Tsitsanoudis, N.M. & Dromantiene, L. (n.d.). found their study that modern living has great impact on the ecology of earth. The issues of climate change and global warming have been prime topics for discussion throughout the decades. To combat that the policy makers need to frame the policies to aware and educate people about the gravity of the issues along with individual responsibility towards the environment conservation. Digital media specifically [lays key role in spreading awareness and establishing eco-friendly lifestyle. Due the maximum use of digital media by youth, the educational organizations need to create curriculum which cater to the demanding needs of information about environment crisis.
In the nutshell, the study found that environment news are often covered as an event story when any disaster or activity take place in that area. The coverage is very low to single news per day on average during the time of sampling. However, the dailies of both the languages (English & Hindi) give equal importance to the environment issues and follow similar angles. The lack of educative role of media in spreading awareness about environment issues is felt. Most of the coverage of the issues is in the form of reporting an incident which lacks in emotional appeal and involvement of the readers in conserving the environment. Lastly, the study suggests that coverage of success stories and educative content is need of the hour for media to play its effective role in opinion making.
- Kapoor, N. (2011). Role of mass media in promotion of environmental awareness along with skill development among the rural people of Shringverpur, Allahabad district, India. A International Conference on Chemical, Biological and Environment Sciences (ICCEBS’2011) Bangkok Dec., 2011
- Kaur, A. & Dr Chahal, H. S. (2018). Role of social media in increasing environmental issue awareness. DOI : 10.18843/rwjasc/v9i1/03
- Kiplimo, K. G. & Dr. Obiri, J. (2015). The media’s fundamental role of shaping environmentalism agenda. International Journal of Advancements in Research & Technology, Volume 4, Issue 2.
- Saikia, R. (2017). Role of mass media in creating environmental awareness. National Journal of Multidisciplinary Research and Development. Volume 2, Issue 1.
- Sypsas, Athanasios & Tsitsanoudis – Mallidis, Nikoletta & Dromantiene, Leta & Pange, Jenny Polyxeni. (2013). The role of the media in the enhancement of the environmental awareness. 10.13140/2.1.3465.5527.