Sunday, January 20, 2019 | ePaper

Language and literature in public opinion

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Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed :
Journalism is devoted to purveying to the readers news and views which are mainly political, economic and social. It is a very powerful medium of communication in the modern age. It is called the Third Estate because it moulds the public opinion and is an important constituent for preserving democratic ideals. Journalists wield great power and their writings have tremendous influence on men. Journalists collect and supply news, and through the comments they exercise influence on public minds. In England, the leading reading newspaper,  'The Times' is looked upon as the House of Parliament.
Journalists like litterateurs are gifted with the power of expression. They present their views and comments in such a way as to excite the curiosity of the readers and sustain the interest of the readers in what they say. Journalistic writings move the readers, awaken their answers and enlighten them on many important problems of life and society. Journalists have to acquire good style of writing persuasive and pleasing style. Like litterateurs, they choose words and phrases meticulously. Good journalists take a cool, detached view of things and aim at objective presentation of news and views. Like the literary practitioners, journalists are lovers of truth, the try to present their views and news with impartiality and honesty. Fidelity to facts is their motto, just as fidelity to life is the ideal of good literature. There is type of ideal of good literature. There is a type of mind, which can produce the best writing under the pressure of immediate occasion. This is the journalist's mind.
Journalism and literature are two entirely different practices of writing. However, there is good journalism and bad journalism as there is good literature and bad literature. Journalism is meant for giving news and views, which are ephemeral. It is occupied with affairs of the day. Sometimes news and views cannot be relied on. They are biased, prejudiced they are inspired by party ideologies or personal predilections and prejudices. There is what is known as yellow journalism in which the readers are misled by false propaganda or misrepresentation of facts and figures. It is a powerful medium for mouldings the opinion and views, but often it is a weapon for particular ideological propaganda.
Language is the most powerful, convenient and permanent means of communication. As media plays the role of communication, so both journalism and language are interlinked. The gestures like the weaving of hands, shaking of the head, signals like red and yellow lights, road signs. emblems, morse, codes, the hieroglyphs and symbols of mathematics are forms of communication but the language is the most flexible, concrete and comprehensive method of communication. Language is the medium through which men express their thoughts and emotions. It is through language that people interact with one another, scholars write and store knowledge, poets and journalists communicate their reactions to objects of nature and the world, friends talk to one another. Most of the activities are carried on through or by it.  A journalist communicates his subtle moods as well as profound ideas through the language, he transmits his own feelings to the readers by means of the language. Communication would be effective only if he uses the appropriate language which is made up of words, images, figures and rhythm. In prose literature, language is used for the same purpose of communication to the readers. In critical writings or in writings in which a subject or message has to be communicated, language must be precise, clear and at the same time vigorous. Involved intricate language structure with needlessly flashy words and images fails to communicate the real ideas of the writer. The language should be lucid and straight forward as far as possible used by journalists. The writer or journalist chooses the words and arranges them keeping in mind the kind of readers, likely to read his work. There is communication between the writer and reader and the writer's selection and arrangement of words reflect his relations between the writer and the reader.
Language is, a powerful weapon to influence the minds of men and women through language, poets inspire people to war and peace, sing of love and joy and beauty, condemn evils and scorn the pride and prejudice. Language is the medium through which scientists and philosophers convey their researches and thoughts, prophets give their messages and politicians excite the masses.
Critics of the past have also indicated the importance of language in creative writing. Horace in his Arts Poetica advises the poets to cultivate excellence in the linguistic art.
A poet's diction will be excellent if a clever combination renders a familiar world original and charming. The poet will increase the expressive power of language by coining new words. He adds; 'As the woods change their leaves at the year's decline and the first leaves fall first, so words perish with old age and other newly born, thrive and flourish like youths.'
In the modern period, journalism has become more popular than literature. An educated man cannot do without the newspapers. Morning cup of tea with an English daily has become the part of the cultured life of the educated men. Newspapers cater to the varied tastes of the reading public. They not only dish out political and social news, but they include articles on social, cultural, literary themes and thoughts. The English weekly, 'The Times' has become the most for all educated English men. Daily newspapers also provide matters for intellectual and literary thoughts in the articles published from time to time. They attract the readers more than the serious poetry, novels and dramas. Moreover, poems, novels and dramas are becoming more and more experimental, innovative and sometimes obscure to the ordinary intellects. Journalistic writings have to-day superseded the literary works. But these writings are of superficial interest, however scintillating and graceful the style may be.
It is a pity in the modern age of cultural charlatanism, perennial values are disregarded in preference to ephemeral matters. Journalism has its own interest and importance, particularly in the modern age when political, economic, social and cultural subjects absorb the interest of even common readers. They serve the intellectual demands of the public by making them aware of the affairs of the day, and commenting on them. But the readers are required to be cautious about what they purvey-they are not always reliable. But good literature pleases and moves our minds with eternal verities and values and accomplishes the enlightenment of our mind and upliftment of our awareness. So both literature and language are very much pertinent for a popular and modern journalism.

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