Albert Einstein had said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. People’s media is as old as civilization. It has always been there, while mass media came up only after renaissance. The dis-empowerment and injustice reinforced and sustained through mass media has always been resisted by civil initiatives for creating alternative modes of communication and information.
While mass media capitalizes on change, people’s media triggers change which can break authoritarian and repressive structures. People’s media is capable of causing change. History is filled with evidence of people’s media emerging to assert the political and social agenda of silenced majorities. Take the Iranian experience in the revolution of the 1970s, for instance. Prayer meetings and religious gatherings were the main arena for mobilizing people against the Shah of Iran, whose tyranny was supported by the-then superpowers and most governments in the world.
The Indian experience during the 21 months of Emergency in 1970s is another example, when Indira Gandhi imposed dictatorship, and banned all other political parties and activities of the opposition, jailed thousands of people, and imposed total censorship on the mass media. Despite the silent mass media, people were not only informed about the happenings but kept abreast of political developments.
The deprivation of rights to identity, expression and communication is what modern corporate owned politics and media has given us. The denial of the right to communicate violates a basic human right, and people are bound to fight back. That’s how nature works. Despite its encompassing nature, people’s media has thrived. Today it can be seen in the form of Social Media, but it has much deeper roots. Technology here only acts as means. Citizen media has the proven potential to escape controls of any kind, which cannot be said of the mass media. Unlike mass media, people’s media has proven itself to be capable of surviving as semi-legal, illegal and underground communication arenas in the face of hostility. They are virtually impossible to destroy.