Role of newspapers in influencing society and youth
Hickey’s Bengal Gazette was the first newspaper to be published in India. In 1780, Augustus Hickey, a staunch critic of the East India Company, ventured to publish it. After successful operation for two years, Warren Hastings ordered its closure, because he found the content too subversive.
Indians like newspapers as much as for the news as for their views which could be quite anti-establishment. Thus, free airing of dissent, the hallmark of a good newspaper endears it to so many Indians. For some, it has become an addiction. In meetings, conferences, gatherings, and ordinary tea shops, people discuss and argue over the news published in the papers of that day. The editorials are treated as sermons of a wise man, and these columns sway public opinion with astounding effect.
Political parties of both left and right, independent media houses, and large business houses publish newspapers targeting the society, and the youth, in particular. It is no secret that the owners of the newspapers often force the editorial staff to promote their agenda. To a large extent, this strategy succeeds. They shape their readers’ views, and set the value system of the society. For the aspirational youth today, the internet might have become pervasive, but in India, newspapers, both print and electronic are considered the loadstones to follow in life’s path.
Apart from news, people read them for advertisements, and entertainment, and job and spouse searches. In a nutshell, the influence of newspapers on society and youth is larger today than ever.