“All men were created free, and now they are everywhere in chains”, as said Rousseau. It is true in sense of contemporary media, once the media was free in inconspicuous terms in early days, but now all media either electronic, print or social are in chains. They have lost freedom in selection of content. They are no more free in their choices: what to have or what not to have.

Freedom is a condition of being free; the power to act, speak or think without externally imposed restraints and in such definition freedom in power to think is lacking and undoubtedly the most important freedom. Now media and people are free in visible footing.

Freedom of speech or expression is not the actual freedom but to save one's personality from extraneous hijacking and power to think is the real freedom.

It is not the law or government restrictions which checks our thinking freedom but our psychological adaptations to the external stimuli. We unwittingly get addicted of the prepared stuff which temporarily fulfils our mental thirst. It hinders us to work internally and produce something from the inner of oneself.

We, in contemporary era, are badly lacking such production which has not been polluted from external environment. We become so much hooked of the outward easiness and do not even realise it. The clog of information and overload content with the same context dulls our personality to investigate the hidden meanings of messages.

As said by John F. Kennedy, “No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth.” The blind imitation of the popular culture helps the propagandist views to sustain in the minds of public.

The similarity in print media and its content either in shape of column topics, editorial issues or lead stories all depicts the same content with different banner heads. The lead stories of the newspapers are the outcome of popular set trends of electronic media and social media liking for issue. Where is the individuality of print media?

The electronic media channels have the same format and pattern of the programmes. All channels are constructing the like stuff with different names of morning shows, entertainment shows and talk shows. They only recreate the same messages and trends with their names. It seems they are working under one organisation with same agenda.

The new means of communication, social media, facilitate assimilation and destroy our individual identity. This media is new form of crowd, where people happily willing to lose their individuality. We unconsciously become alike and disappear in collective identity.

Although social media have enough potential to viral any issue in no moment, it only shares what mainstream media have been planted in them. The snowball effect of social media overwhelms all the minute and marginalised voices because they neither have enough followers nor the interest of main media.

Media is showing; what people want to see but in reality media has shaped them what they should see. If all the media have the same content to disseminate then why we need a so many newspapers, electronic channels and social websites? Even all the media houses can produce such standardised content from one page. Why for one alike agenda is so many different mediums and houses?

The multi-medium striking of media does not favour the innovative and differentiated ideas to get attention in the society. The media is informing or entertaining the society but indeed suppressing them with the same identity and agenda. It restraints the diversity of the society; bars on versatility of thoughts. The culture of collective identity only produces carbon copies.

What the culture media is disseminating, people like their inputs are happy in blind imitation of others. They are busy in copying the popular morals, ideas, dresses, norms and minds. They joyously share the status, videos and thoughts of others.

Media is promoting the culture of commonness in masses. The commonness of society with same minded group threatens any new ideas to get flourish. This is also a new non-observable form of extremism where there is no place for any new identities to come forward.

Our society is facing the identity crisis, with crowd growing and individuals disappearing. If you do not have the freedom to think then there is no use of freedom of speech or expression. To generate untouched ideas, to act individually and to produce uniquely is the soul of freedom. Copying and sharing others is not the freedom; but you have been trapped!

 

The writer is a police officer and Masters in Mass Communication from Forman Christian College. He can be reached at mas77@live.com