INDIA – FOURTH ESTATE’S CENTER OF EXCELLENCE
From the Indian Express of the emergency days to editor in chiefs of fame, whose editorials we drooled over in college days, to India Today coming out of nowhere and establishing itself, to NDTV a little later, simultaneously creating a niche for itself in a short time has been fourth estate’s landscape towards the last part of the last century. Not to forget of the Mainstreams and EPWs, which for sure gave us a faith that the Indian fourth estate has a great future. Faces on the news TV become stars of the day. The feeder mass communications course were holding that promise for the country.
The electronic news transitioning to 24/7 format and then the anchorisation of it, might be was the beginning of an experiment which in hindsight seems to have gone haywire. Fourth as the media is called in robust democracies, has been termed as its watchdogs. Though not being a part of system, it is a barometer of the democratic system itself. From news reading, to views, to debates and what not, in the process the anchors became news themselves. How it happens at the backend in none of our concern, what is served in the front end and too as news, relentlessly and continuously is a matter of concern.
The Indian democratic media has become both a spectacle and story. They are the news. Their skewed methods have been in news for quite some time. Media trail and various other tools have been continuously deployed with finesse. What to pick up and what to leave, and the treatment to be given that topic / issue or subject in totally their discretion. Politicians, political parties and political alliances has always been in need of the media. I.N.D.I.A alliance while trying to put its act in place, would need the mainstream media to amplify its message. Instead, they have banned 14 anchors, who have been on the electronic media Centre stage for quite some time. They advertise their own programs and channels and claim to have objectivity as their second skin.
The opposition alliance’s stance makes one fact very clear, that the ban is adversarial. It is a well thought out retort. They feel that the ban is better way to deal with this media rather than engaging with them. A sorry state of affairs indeed. Introspection time for sure. The print media strangely comes wrapped in advertisements and many a times government advertisements; which gives an indication of what slant the inside would have. The ban on 14 anchors by the I.N.D.I.A alliance would go down the first in the history of democracy the world over. Slants, alignments and corporate preferences in the media has been an age-old issue, and the world learnt to bear with it. Media being thrown out of their own game by a big opposition formation spells doom. Has a new democratic movement just begun? Without effective checks and balances, the democratic system goes haywire has been proven again and again.
MANUFACTURED OBJECTIVITY AND BEING A WATCH DOG ARE TWO ENDS OF THE MEDIA SPECTRUM.
Have a nice evening.