Communication media help in the promotion of culture. Today media is the link that connects civilizations
in the world. In the past, people belonging to one side of the globe did not know what was happening on the other side. But
today thanks to the media we know one another well. We know what is happening over there and they know what is happening over
here. We know everything about them: their behaviour pattern, their culture, their habits, their religion and what not. In
fact media has blended all the cultures into one unit.
Sometimes, we are unaware of our own culture. There are many persons who are natives of one state
but are residing in another state. These persons very often may not know the cultural and traditional wealth of their own
states. But when they see some of the documentaries on the cultural and traditional heritage of their state in the local or
national TV, they are overwhelmed with pride in the fact that they are heirs to such traditional and cultural wealth. This
helps them to appreciate their culture.
Moreover, our national culture is diverse. People living in the South do not know the cultural
traits of the North and other parts of the country, and vice versa. But media integrate these cultural diversities. For instance,
Doordarshan frequently shows many documentaries on the cultural wealth of different states of the country. It demonstrates
the diverse art forms of the states, the living conditions of the people, the diverse food habits etc. These programmes not
only promote awareness of our national culture in the citizens, but stimulate national integration also.
Magazines too are not lagging behind in the performance of this function. For example, The Teenager
publishes a column titled destinations. It enumerates the cultural heritage of different states in India. Last year, it published
in a series, the cultural heritage of the North Eastern states. They were of great help to me because I have a few North Eastern
friends in my college. The cultural barrier was a hindrance to our free interaction. But after I read those columns I came
to know of a few distinct features of their culture. This knowledge helped me to interact with them more freely and jovially.
Today we have the National Geographic Channel, Discovery channel, Animal Planet etc., which present
the life style of people living in different parts of the world. We become wonderstruck seeing the life style and habits of
some of the aborigines, tribals and eskimos. I was amazed to see on TV how people live in the south pole and north pole. When
we see these programmes, we feel that we are a part of their culture, the traditions and habits. Sometimes we are even impelled
to assimilate some of the good traits of their culture and traditions.
But, this is not the end of the story. Media has negative impacts too on the culture. Let us look
at our culture. The invasion of foreign media has resulted in the erosion of our culture. Mr Ramanujam, a lecturer of ALC,
wrote in a column in a daily: "English by becoming a global language has marginalized many other languages and caused even
a linguistic genocide." Along with him I would echo that western media too by its dominance over other native media and culture
has caused a cultural genocide. Western media, thanks to its sheer dominance, has already imposed its own cultural assumptions
on our culture.
Today due to the influence of the western media, our people try to speak like the westerners, behave
like the westerners, and dress like the westerners. I have been amazed to hear some people speaking their mother tongue with
a foreign accent. Children in the metropolitan cities do not like to hear and watch anything vernacular. Owing to the influence
of the western media they like to hear only English songs, and watch western belly dances and English action movies.
The invasion of western media into our culture has caused the erosion and complete extinction of
some of our fine arts. For Instance, once upon a time Chakyar Koothu was a famous art form of Kerala. People used to gather
in groups to watch this. But today it has completely vanished from the society. Today there are no such artists because they
have no audience. This is the condition of all our fine arts like Kuchipudi, Kathakali, Bharathanatyam etc. It is a usual
sight in every function that people prefer western songs and western dance to Indian classical songs and classical dance.