Indian Mass Media Crisis!
I have very limited knowledge & experience about media. Since my students probably have even lesser experience I am sharing my views on the subject. Indian mass media is in a crisis and hence indirectly so is democracy in India. Let us try to understand the problem and deduce solutions.
Who Controls Mass-Media?
Media houses are privately owned and have been linked to various political parties because of the outlook of the owners, sources of funds and views of the editors. Media was largely perceived to be independent. The independence is only a theoretical concept. In reality a state of genuine independence never existed. Why do I say this? This is my experience:
- Political Misdeeds Got Reported. From Bofors to 2G to Rafael, corruption stories of politicians have got reported.
- Corruption & Misdeeds of Corporate Rarely Get Reported. We know well that the biggest generator of black money are the political parties and they get this black money from the likes of Ambanis & Adanis. You would rarely remember having read corruption charges against them. The simple reason is that either the corporate houses are part owners of the media houses or are potential revenue sources through advertisements.
Changes in Print Media
‘Times of India’ became the leader of printed news by setting a poor trend for others (my personal view). The salient features of the trend are:
- It is primarily an agency printing advertisements, news is incidental! Often you will see the front page of ‘Times of India’ being a paid advertisement.
- The quality of reporting and language has become quite poor.
- The concept of ‘Infotainment’ commenced and caught on. Example: Differences between Shahrukh & Salman sold much more than suicides by farmers.
Recent Changes in TV News
- The ‘Infotainment’ concept gained total legitimacy. Popularity, rather than quality became a legitimate goal to be pursued. “TRP” ratings and “breaking news” became buzz words. There was more falsehood than truth in the claims of the TV news channels!
- The recent trend is of ‘star anchors’ selling news. The mixture of ‘Infotainment’ and ‘star anchors’ have given rise to such phenomena:
- We are made sick of news items like: ‘Padmavati’.
- Topics of TV debates require no coverage by any reporter of news. Examples: “ Jinnah’s photograph in AMU”.
- Field reporting and investigation has reduced.
Modi’s Influence on Mass Media
Modi –Amit Shah led BJP is a media house as well as a corporate house in itself ( BJP owns the maximum black money in India). It does the following:
- Does excessive propaganda through print, TV and social media.
- Propaganda includes promoting Modi’s actions and policies, denouncing work of opposition leaders, both past and present.
- It has no qualms about the propaganda being false so long as the political objectives are achieved.
- Spends considerable amount of money (presumably mostly black) to fund all of the above activities.
- Pressurize and coerce unfavorable reporters and media houses through all possible dirty tactics. Examples: Cases against, “NDTV” & “The Wire”, threats to Ravish Kumar.
- Mass media has largely been made ‘committed’ to Modi & BJP.
- Important news items are ignored by the ‘committed media’ of the Arnab Goswami type. You can get genuine important news only from media houses facing the maximum false cases like ‘The Wire’ & NDTV. Examples of major news items being ignored are: ‘SSC scam’, ‘India’s economic blockade of Nepal in support of Madhesis’, ‘Chinese activities near LAC’ and the recent ‘Cobrapost Operation 136’.
Suggestions for Public
- Please don’t read the news being sold by the ‘committed media houses’.
- Try to discern the truth by following the so called anti-Modi media, which is actually reporting the truth.
- Don’t believe the statements of Modi, Shah , Jaitley , Rahul & so on. It is mostly false propaganda!