Tuesday , January 28 2020
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Stop professing end of communications

Stop professing end of communications

A communications man said in a tv talk show the other day that the mass media in the country are doing a great disservice by airing the view points of the relatives of war crimes convicts. ‘They have no say, the court has given the verdict and that ends there.’ He went on, ‘why should there be voices of the defeated forces in the media.’ The ‘media or communications expert’ utilised the space and time to give this view taking advantage of his years of work in the field. But he hardly realised that he was advocating for killing the very space that the mass media, to be more specific, the news media creates to air or communicate news and views. Students of communications have all along learnt that this process of creation of stimuli and evocation of response does not end with the creation of any ultimate message. Because, a message becomes useless if it does not have receiver(s) who in turn respond or interact creating an understanding or semblance of understanding. To avoid a narrative on what communications is within the confines of this limited space, hopefully it would suffice to say that even in a convergence model of communications – more appropriate for campaigns to orient senders and receivers of messages towards a common goal or understanding – messages should differ from person to person and from situation to situation. The levels of understanding might also not be similar. Divergence shall always be there even within convergence.We are passing through an emotion-charged moment of our history, and such expressions as depriving certain participants in the communications process a response can only be interpreted as high emotion. But high emotion might not necessarily fulfill the requirements of reasoning. Media people and communications practitioners are trained to contain emotions to present accounts of events, ideas or things to larger audiences in an accurate and unbiased way to make those meaningful. If a mass media organisation decides just to air one side of the story and openly declares not to give account of the other side(s) then it would soon find itself moving far away from the demands and tastes of the audiences it loves to serve.
The audiences most often want the mass media to get accurate and unbiased information and prefer the right to draw conclusions on those to be left to themselves. Because even members of a single family hold divergent views on the same events, ideas or things, not to talks of the community or the greater society which exists in a multi-party and multi-culture context. A narrow winner-takes-all mentality even among a section of communications experts is a recipe for disaster for the communications process itself and for the mass media organisations which exist and flourish by promoting this process. This section of ‘experts’ should better not profess the end of communications by denying the existence of the receivers of messages and their responses. Because, this would lead to no communications at all.