DailyPost 2499

The fate of the fourth estate in this this country is for everyone to see and experience and in one of those exceptional circumstances derive some benefit out of it. News got completely transformed with the news channels and more so when they went 24/7. A dedicated news channel is where the news is missing. It alternates between running commentary of incident / accident with asking all and sundry, as to what they feel about it, and outlandish stories of the anchors, being told in an equally outlandish manner.

It gives a feeling that the country has gone bereft of domain experts, practitioners and deliverers, who have learnt and practiced their art, the hard way, in the interest of their professions and the nation. A news anchor and few standard spokespersons and fixed or substandard speakers, are sufficient to enlighten on issues ranging from the moon mission to crypto currency to complexities of oil pricing. If life is brought down to such simplicity with daggers drawn and vested narratives on display, the fourth estate thus becomes the custodian of its own vested interest. Ugly corporatization of the news can only deliver, what it has been churned out over the years.

The owning corporate, news channel and anchor are the new definition of news in the information age. The print media is window dressing of a so-called newspaper where news is placed midst of bold ads, where commercial interests allow for it. While the decline of the fourth estate was taking shape, its next generation avatar was shaping up. The fifth estate heralded a new age democracy with democratization of information. This was the social media, providing unforeseen power to one and all. An international publication capability for free. The promise was there for sure and we could see and feel the benefits by way newer ideas, better expertise and a great tool in times of crisis.

Technology has always been a double edged and it more true for the social media than anything else today. Commercial interest created what was depicted in The Social Dilemma, but what happened later can put any civilized society to shame. The organised nature of trolls finds their way to strength on the guise the social media provides and governments that play ball in the expectation that this tool they can play around with to their advantage. They don’t realise that it is like riding a tiger. Trolls, obnoxious narrations and a language and mindset which happens to exact antithesis of democratic mindset reigns supreme. Leave aside being custodians of democracy, the well-established fourth estate and younger & newer cousin the fifth estate, are on the verge of subsuming democratic way of life.

Sanjay Sahay

Have a nice evening.

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