by the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal
If you’d look at our news media, you wouldn’t believe if you are seeing the news, the reality show or propaganda. Except for a handful of exceptions majority fall under the latter two. Though media had always been a chained duck in this country but under the current establishment, the media has squarely surrendered their spine to the government which is unprecedented in the history of this country.
Even the staunchest supporters of PM Modi will tell you that the media has become a dustbin, and rightfully so, they only have a few topics besides Rhea Chakraborty, Sushant Singh Rajput, and Hindu Muslim debates among others to discuss. In every TV bit, they don’t forget to pepper effusive praise for PM Modi as if they’ll lose their job if the cult of personality is missing in reporting. It has brought an intellectual monotony in the News section making Animal Planet a more interesting watch. Imagine the message that is going out in public when a motor mouth Bollywood actress gets Y plus security and silence prevails on the death and rape of a Dalit girl.
The debate on the economy is completely missing from our TV screen and not a channel except NDTV would dare to show the results of lockdown. If IT cells and TV Anchors think that by not showing the relevant discussions on TV channels they are fooling the public then they are making a big mistake. By towing the party line of the ruling folks they are actually giving out the message that concerns of the public such as youth employment are of no concern to the PM and his party. Since when is it wrong to question government policies? The test of leadership comes when times are tough; shying away from matters of economy and national security is the sign of an insecure leadership and shady journalism.
Moreover, not letting real problems appear on TV can mean that the government and its leaders will live in a false sense of security. The economic performance was never the strong suit of Modi government and yet they are ignoring every chance of course correction. The rulers of a state should be seen as reformative and eager to address the concerns of the common folk. The current government attitude is slowly turning into arrogance and disinterest. As the job and economic prospects become bleaker and the economy does not show signs of promise, the middle-class which is the largest support base of the Modi government will get vocal. When issues such as fewer government jobs, privatization of public assets, rising prices of petrol, corona crisis, and debt troubles of middle-class families find no podium in BJP controlled media then people will start venting their anger on social platforms.
A free media, a credible media contributes to the development of society, strengthens the foundations of democracy, facing criticism will actually prove that our leaders can take it on their chin but the state of our media reflects that our political leaders and journalists are an afraid, unsure lot.