by Dr. Fakira Mohan Nahak

INTRODUCTION:

Culture is an ambiguous, broad and relative term. Its territory can be as narrow as a nuclear family or an individual and as big as the universe. Under the ambit of culture everything comes. It is a part and parcel of our life. It is inseparable from the human civilization. The way we talk, we write, dress, celebrate, cry, live, socialize, communicate, create, store and propagate that makes our culture. Our religious practices, societal values, congregations, rules, laws, food habits, arts, crafts, sculpture all are part of our culture. From the time immemorial man has moved from zero to hero.  Culture is a part of our development which is holistic and sustainable. It is treasure worthy and worth cherishing.

There was a day when there was no theoretical concept called DEVELOPMENT but man had the constant endeavor to get developed each passing moment. From eating raw flesh to baked flesh, from using stones as weapons to the use of sharp metallic weapons, from roaming naked to have a taste for varieties of outfits etc man has come a long way in pursue of development. Inventions of fire, wheel, paper, electricity etc were some of the path-breaking achievements that boosted development in every possible way.

Development is one of the most fiercely debated concepts in the contemporary social sciences. The concept is often equated with modernization, industrialization, social change, progress, growth etc. Development is comprehensive, dynamic and takes in its ambit every aspect of human existence. For in its fundamental meaning, all development is human development, the focus of development is the human being, the quality of his/her life and the environment in which the quality of life is sustained.

ROLE OF MEDIA:

With the passage of time man creates new wonders, develops cultures, creates traditions, shapes the societies and writes history. On the other hand with the advancement of time some creations become old and obsolete. But we can’t ignore them, because with the time all those creations become part and parcels of our lives. We try to preserve our culture, tradition and heritage. This is in reality required for the generation next. Traditional Knowledge Transfer systems are still there, where uniqueness of any culture or heritage is preserved for generations together. In this complete process, media plays a vital role. Media being the mouthpiece as well as the mirror of the society conveys the message to the mass.

In ancient days communication was through signs, postures and gestures which in other term non-verbal communication. But with the advancement of language, literature, technology the communication became verbal. Most of the communication carried out by media. In early days it was traditional media or folk media, but in modern days it is print and electronic media. And now it is new media or digital media. All have major contribution for the knowledge transfer and disseminating the message.

As we have discussed, with the passage of time, cultures, customs, traditions become old, at that time it is media which preservers it and passes it to the generation next. You can take the example of popular “PALA” folk form of Odisha. Earlier it was a best pass time and mode of entertainment for rural people. But now the present generation does not take interest in it. Though it is a cultural symbol, but does not get that much of public attention as 20 years before. But to its contrary television has made its inroad to every household and “PALA” is performed in the studio and reaches to the mass. By this way, the TV not only preserves the “PALA” culture but also makes it palatable for the generation next.

It is literature, art, performing art or culture, it needs a carrier to reach a wider audience and here the carrier is media. Example and case studies of such cultural propagation through media will be discussed in the later part. Here the researcher wants to cite former President Late Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam who had rolled out an eight-point mantra for the media to enable it effectively partner in national missions that touch the lives of every Indian. Kalam emphasized on promoting an enlightened society where education has a value system and religion is a spiritual force. He said, “The combination of economic development and preservation of values system drawn from our civilization heritage will transform India into a happy, prosperous and safe nation”.

IMPORTANCE OF TELEVISION AS A MEDIUM OF COMMUNICATION:

As the researcher is going to analyze the content of two leading regional TV channels of Odisha, prior to that it is important to know the importance of Television as a medium of communication. The television has invaded our houses since its inception in the 1950s. As a means of communication is has become almost indispensable. What was earlier deemed to be a luxury item has now become a necessity of almost every household. It holds its place as one of the best media of communication due to its omnipresence. In terms of audience penetration, television is the most mass of all the mass media. It touches our lives more intimately, more seductively, and more persuasively than any other. Television is arguably the most powerful medium in the world today and has created what McLuhan referred to as “the global village”.

The electronic media are transforming every aspect of man’s life and restructuring civilization, not so much by the content of their messages, but by the nature itself of television, movies, computers and other media.

According to DVR Murthy, television has a telling effect on the masses. The television with its immediacy and compelling images in bringing the day’s happenings at one’s doorstep and the news happenings are transmitted in seconds. The face of a politician or celebrity or an accused is shown alike on the TV screen and salacious presentation of men and women on the television screen has become its prime duty.

WHY PRIME TIME NEWS:

          In whatever format you present the content in television, it may not attract that much of audience unless until it is in the primetime. Prime time in television is basically evening hours, where people are free from the daily chores and settled to watch the TV. If the content is a capsule programme then it is ok, but if it gets a space in the news bulletin, then people give importance to it. For example, if a channel airs a feature programme on world famous heritage site Konark temple, then it may not attract much audience. But if there is any problem in the temple premises e.g. crack in the sanctum sanctorum, water logging in the temple compound then immediately it becomes a headline in the news bulletins and reactions pour from different corners, attracts administrative attention and subsequently measures are taken for its preservation.

So far as communication for the preservation of culture is concerned, we find less importance is given to this section by media. So here in this paper, the researcher tries to find out really how much of air time is given to news and features related to preservation of culture in the prime time news bulletin of two different leading regional Television channels of Odisha, ETV Oriya and Odisha Television- OTV. At the same time what kind of special attention is given by the TV channels in what format to cultural news that is also analyzed?

COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF PRIME TIME NEWS OF ETV ORIYA AND OTV

ETV Oriya was the first private satellite television channels of Odisha launched on 27th January 2002. Similarly OTV was the first cable television channel of Odisha launched way back in 1997 and became a satellite channel on 2nd December 2006. Initially both the channels were infotainment channels and later became 24×7 News channel.

The researcher goes for a content analysis of 3 months 7pm prime time news bulletins of both the channels. A total of 184 news bulletins were recorded each of 30 minutes duration. Each second is considered as the unit of analysis. The researcher divided the contents in Development Reports and Non-development reports. Out of which only Development reports are taken for the study. All Development reports or the airtime given to development reports are divided into 14 different categories. Those are Agriculture, Health, Education, Road Transport & Communication, Industry & Employment, Administrative Reforms, Communal Harmony, Women Empowerment, and Children Issues, Preservation of Culture, and Environmental protection, Scientific Temperament, Human Rights and Food Security. From these 14 categories Preservation of Culture is one. Researcher tries to draw a conclusion with comparative analysis of different categories.

Total DC in 7pm Bulletins of ETV Oriya and OTV and Airtime given to different categories in Seconds (October-2010)

DC OCTOBER 2010
ETV Oriya OTV
Agriculture 494 1008
Health 783 303
Education 1119 808
Road Transport & Communication 407 560
Industry & Employment 854 615
Administrative Reforms 287 521
Communal Harmony 173 205
Women Empowerment 201 180
Children Issues 195 232
Preservation of Culture 306 340
Environmental protection 876 694
Scientific Temperament 284 1231
Human Rights 188 859
Food Security 475 453
Total DC 6642 8009

This table indicates that OTV performs better than ETV Oriya as far as total airtime given to DC stories in October 2010 is concerned. OTV dedicated 8009s while ETV Oriya conceded 6642s to these stories.

  • Out of 14 content categories, as many as 8 viz AGR, RTC, AR, CH, CI, PC, ST and HR received better coverage in OTV.

Total DC in 7pm Bulletins of ETV Oriya and OTV and Airtime given to different categories in Seconds (November-2010)

DC NOVEMBER 2010
ETV Oriya OTV
Agriculture 1502 1156
Health 1400 573
Education 542 443
Road Transport & Communication 214 271
Industry & Employment 524 997
Administrative Reforms 548 1155
Communal Harmony 57 0
Women Empowerment 45 122
Children Issues 326 158
Preservation of Culture 1427 1053
Environmental protection 1469 1106
Scientific Temperament 805 466
Human Rights 301 247
Food Security 23 119
Total DC 9183 7866

 

Total DC in 7pm Bulletins of ETV Oriya and OTV and Airtime given to different categories in Seconds (November-2010)

This table shows that ETV Oriya is the clear winner in November 2010 by reversing the trend of the previous month as the channel devoted 9138s to DC stories in its 7pm Amari Odisha bulletin during these 31 days. OTV gave 7866s to such stories in the whole month. Agriculture, health, education, communal harmony, children’s issues, environmental protection, scientific temperament and human rights get better space in the primetime news bulletin of ETV Oriya during this month. Administrative reforms manage to get 548s in ETV Oriya’s primetime news. In contrast, OTV’s primetime bulletin devotes 1155s for such stories in November 2010. Preservation of Culture gets 1427 seconds in ETV Oriya and on the other hand OTV dedicated 1053 seconds of its airtime to the news on Preservation of Culture.

Total DC in 7pm Bulletins of ETV Oriya and OTV and Airtime given to different categories in Seconds (December-2010)

DC DECEMBER 2010
ETV Oriya OTV
Agriculture 2960 3491
Health 2070 175
Education 162 492
Road Transport & Communication 523 550
Industry & Employment 973 975
Administrative Reforms 438 1230
Communal Harmony 440 705
Women Empowerment 56 0
Children Issues 366 796
Preservation of Culture 1460 515
Environmental protection 741 610
Scientific Temperament 89 78
Human Rights 390 38
Food Security 598 924
Total DC 11266 10579

 

This table indicates ETV Oriya has slight edge over OTV with respect to development reporting in the 7pm news bulletin during December 2010. The channel dedicated total 11266s to development reporting in the 31 primetime news bulletins aired in the month of December 2010. OTV’s primetime news show gave 10579s to development reporting during this month.

  • ETV Oriya gives better coverage to stories on health, Woman Empowerment, Preservation of Culture, Environment Protection, Scientific Temperament and Human Rights.
  • Issues related to AGR, ED, RTC, AR, CH, CI and FS receive better coverage in OTV.
  • ETV Oriya gives far better weight to Preservation of Culture and Human Rights in December as time given for Preservation of Culture by the channel is 1460s in contrast to 515s given by OTV.
  • ETV Oriya dedicates 438s to AR category which is less than half of OTV’s 1230s given to the same category.
  • Both channels show unimpressive coverage of stories on WE and ST in December 2010.
  • In 7pm Pratidin bulletin of OTV, children’s issues get 796s in December 2010; more than double the airtime they got in ETV Oriya.ie. 366s in the whole month.

 

Comparison of Total DC and Airtime given to Different Categories in 7pm Bulletins of ETV Oriya and OTV (OCT to DEC-2010) in Seconds
  CHANNEL
DC ETV Oriya OTV
Agriculture 4956 5655
Health 4253 1051
Education 1823 1743
Road Transport & Communication 1144 1381
Industry & Employment 2351 2587
Administrative Reforms 1273 2906
Communal Harmony 670 910
Women Empowerment 302 302
Children Issues 887 1186
Preservation of Culture 3193 1908
Environmental protection 3086 2410
Scientific Temperament 1178 1775
Human Rights 879 1144
Food Security 1093 1496
TOTAL 27091 26454

 

Ranking of Different DC Categories in 7pm Bulletins of ETV Oriya and OTV (OCT to DEC-2010)
  CHANNEL
DC ETV Oriya Rank OTV Rank
Agriculture 1 1
Health 2 12
Education 6 7
Road Transport & Communication 9 9
Industry & Employment 5 3
Administrative Reforms 7 2
Communal Harmony 13 13
Women Empowerment 14 14
Children Issues 11 10
Preservation of Culture 3 5
Environmental protection 4 4
Scientific Temperament 8 6
Human Rights 12 11
Food Security 10 8

 

Comparison of Total DC and Airtime given to Different Categories in 7pm Bulletins of ETV Oriya and OTV (OCT to DEC-2010) in Seconds

COMMONALITIES  

  • Agriculture gets top priority in the 7pm news bulletin of both ETV Oriya and OTV during Oct-Dec 2010.
  • Environmental protection gets 4th position among the 14 content categories in both the channels.
  • Both bulletins accord 9th spot to road-transport-and-communication.
  • 13th position goes to communal harmony in both channels.
  • Both ETV Oriya and OTV gave least importance to stories on women empowerment in their primetime bulletins during the period under study.
  • There is a strange coincidence as each channel gave 302s to women empowerment during these three months in their primetime bulletins.

CONTRASTS

  • ETV Oriya gives 3rd spot to preservation of culture and 5th spot to industry-and-employment. The reverse is observed in OTV ie. Preservation of culture getting 5th place and industry-and-employment getting 3rd
  • Health gets 4253s in ETV Oriya and 1051s in OTV. Its position is second only to agriculture in the 7pm Amari Odisha bulletin in these three months but relegated to 12th position in 7pm Pratidin bulletin of OTV.
  • The margin of airtime given to the 1st and 2nd spots in ETV Oriya is very small as compared to that in OTV. In ETV Oriya, agriculture with 1st spot gets 4956s and health with 2nd spot gets 4253s in 3 months. In contrast, OTV gives 5655s to agriculture which also has the top position among the 14 content categories. But AR at 2nd spot gets 2906s which creates a huge margin.
  • ETV fares well as far as airtime given to following content categories is concerned: Health, Preservation of Culture, Environment Protection and Education.
  • Though ETV Oriya gave more airtime to the DC stories during Oct-Dec 2010, OTV had a better coverage of as many as 9 content categories viz. agriculture, AR, industry-and-employment, ST, FS,RTC, CI, HR and CH.

Besides the prime time news bulletins throughout the day in other slots, both the channels air different programmes focusing Preservation of Culture. Not only that, very often these channels air Special Episodes and go for live broadcasts of different cultural issues which helps in propagating the cultural heritage of the state to a wider global audience. For example, famous Konark Festival, world famous Rathyatra of Lord Jagannath, Cuttack Dussera, District tribal festival “Parab” etc have got tremendous popularity only because of media.

OBSERVATION AND RECOMMENDATIONS:

It has been observed that, anything that comes in news gets immediate attention. So, for the preservation of culture, the researcher recommends that,

  1. News channels should design their bulletins in such a way, so that at least a single news item gets its place in the run down. This should be done on a regular basis may be in the form of kicker. It will definitely connect people to their roots and to their cultural heritages.
  1. Air maximum number of promos, pop-ups, tickers and full frame graphic plates on the stories, so that viewers will wait to watch the show anxiously. Similarly public participation programmes may be designed to make people involve in the stories particularly for the preservation of culture.
  1. The television news channels should increase the airtime dedicated to development reporting in their primetime bulletins including stories on Preservation of Culture.
  1. More investigative and interpretative reporting on developmental issues must be incorporated in the news.
  1. All these stories should be digitized and preserved in the digital platform, so that one and all can access it in present and future.

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(The writer is a Research Scholar in Berhampur University)