Newspaper is one of the many blessings of science. As its name implies, a newspaper gives us news. That is what we look for first in our morning paper. We read the news of the day. We study what is happening at home and abroad. If there is conflict in any part of the world, we come to know about it the next day. The sports column provides us with the latest news of the matches being played in any pan of the world. There is news for the traders about the fluctuations in money market. Film fans have news about their favorite film stars and the latest pictures running in the various picture houses of the town. Then there are articles of particular interest, letters to the editor, stories and what not. The newspaper, in short, is the mirror of the world.
The newspaper, in India, is of a very recent growth but during this short period, it has made such a wonderful progress that it is now one of the most powerful factors in every field of public life.
The newspaper is the most necessary thing in a democratic country like India. It educates public opinion. There are continents on the burning topics of the day. People read these views and form their own opinions about them.
The newspaper has a great influence on the social life of a country. It arouses public opinion against some of the social evils and helps in removing them. It creates civic sense and fellow-feeling. People learn to help one another in times of difficulties. In times when some calamity like an earthquake or flood or famine overtakes the country, the newspaper can appeal for funds and thus help in organizing relief measures.
The newspaper is the best means of advertisement. It carries advertisements of all sorts of goods. The advertised goods find a ready sale in the market. An unemployed person looks up the ‘situations vacant’ column for a job. The ‘matrimonial column’ has helped many a person get a good match. A child pleases himself by looking at interesting cartoons. An idle person, too, kills his time by going through every column of the paper. In fact, everyone has in it something which can interest him.
All this accounts for the great popularity of the newspaper. It has become a sort of ‘must’ for every educated man. He may miss his meals but he cannot miss his newspaper. Newspapers are important but we must also guard against the harm which they are likely to do if they are not properly controlled. Some newspapers vitiate the atmosphere by spreading rumors. They spread unhealthy ideas. The communal riots which did great harm by disturbing day-today life of the citizens in the present as well as in the past were largely due to this unhealthy propaganda carried on by the vernacular press. Most of the papers are run on party lines. They poison the public mind. The sooner such newspapers are stopped, the better for the country.
In a country like India where there is freedom of the press, the responsibilities of the editors or the editorial staff are indeed very great. They must follow the path of truth. There should be no distorting of facts. Mud-slinging should be avoided.