The face behind the mask

2018-01-03T13:47:21+01:00

The turn of this new millennium saw the introduction and worldwide penetration of digital broadcasting, which transformed television (TV) viewing experience in no small way. With this technology, broadcasters are able to offer TV experience with better visual and audio quality and multiple channels of programming. Although some parts of the developing world are currently still making the all-important transition from analog to digital in the way they democratize TV content.

In addition to conventional TV, we now have the options of online TV streaming service (like Netflix and others) plus that of social media, offering us loads and loads of content, far more than we can ever grapple with. Deluge of programming with high resolution that keeps viewers at the edge of their seats across the world, daily. Records have it that digital advertising agencies in the US made a gross revenue of 14 billion dollars in 2016 – they have never had it so good.

Mask

But I have some concerns with some of the script behind the motions that we see. There is far more to the most of them than meets the eyes and the fact is that, when people speak, there is often what they mean that they are not clearly saying. If you are discerning enough, you will probably have the same concerns too. If only many of us can be more conscious of the message behind the message that we see then we will understand better the kind of challenge we have got on our hands. Or if there was a way for viewers to be all ears and all eyes at the same time whenever they sit in front of the screens, maybe we all would be better able to have a collective sense of this challenge.

For most of the programs, the question is, what are they really saying? What is the story plot behind the flashes of light that greets our eyes? What kind of values are they sharing? What are the biases and prejudices of the script writer of that movie? What’s the lyrics behind that song? irrespective of the wonderful beats and the beautiful melody. It matters. How are these guys shaping our collective culture? What is the legitimacy and credibility of the stories that they are telling? Plenty questions. At the end of every commercial advertisement, I often ask myself, what are they asking us to do now? Is this commercial trying to take from us or add to us? What’s their motivation? And I think everyone of us should be smart to always do the same also. Be careful to ask, otherwise you may be unconsciously picking mental viruses that are capable of influencing your actions both now and tomorrow. Many people don’t know that influence does not need your permission to govern your behaviour and that what we have power over is not whether or not we will be influenced but the kind of influence that we experiencing or will experience. That’s what we can control.

The thing is, there is so much selfish marketing been bandied around today. Sales people who don’t care whether they put people on overdrive and push them to indulge and indulge again. They don’t care whether they are making viewers live more fearful, more anxious, unhappy and discontented lives. You can imagine how many billion people are sitting in front of these tubes around the world right now. Everytime I see children who are left alone to consume TV content without parental guidance, I shudder. Parental presence is not even equal to parental guidance, because many parents don’t understand these dynamics. Even some of the cartoons of these days are corrupted, in every sense of the word. You only need to seat and listen enough to hear what the characters are saying to understand the gravity of these problem and the challenge is, children don’t have gates on their minds, they consume everything hook, line and sinker….leaving us with a challenged society to grapple with, today and into the future, . This challenge can no longer be left completely in the hands of government to manage, and parents (and all the elders of society) must know that in extraordinary times like this, they cannot afford to outsource the all-important role of content censorship to government agencies alone. Because someone can create content and has a TV house does not mean he can mess up with our minds. Somethings may not matter to them (as per their definition of what is right and wrong), but it does matter to us. We must become more responsible. When people abuse our collective sensibilities by virtue of the fact that they possess the necessary infrastructure required to push content to all of us, then we must be courageous enough to label them for what they are.

I am not saying there is no good content on TV anymore, I am just of the opinion that those who give can be more generous and should care more and the people who receive should be more cautious about the kind of materials they allow into their minds.

It’s a call to responsibility for all of us.

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