DailyPost 2068

All acts and decisions are sacred for the persons, who are officially mandated to perform that task. They carry a sense of responsibility and are supposed to know the complete process by which they reached such a decision, conclusion or end result. They also have to wherewithal to get any information concerning the issue at their beck and call, and have resource persons who have a history of expertise in that work and also know what has to be disseminated and in which manner. They also know how to do vocal public domain firefighting. They also have the capability to work under duress, decide, execute and also deal with the media and the world in a proper manner, with no slips and being as cogent, straight and simultaneously diplomatic as can be in such a situation.

They are the personas of democracy, governance, defence, security, policing, law making and like, which fill the communication space of the modern world. For valid reasons lot many times, these personas and their organisations are represented by somebody junior but very competent or a communications expert who has been in the organisation for long and understands the nitty gritty of the decision, organisational milieu and the ecosystem. He also understands the nature of the recipients of this information, the lingo they understand and the twists and turns they are likely to create and prepares his back-end notes accordingly. Sometimes a press note might be enough. At times Twitter acts as a direct communication channel these days.

Social media had capability of bringing the world in direct communication with the decision makers personas or the professional communicators on their behalf. But that did not happen. Today, the public domain communication space is today totally monopolised by what we can term as Vocal Middlemen. In simple language, it is vested interest communication from anchors to spokespersons, to stop-gap intellectuals, political commentators and a lot of their ilk. They have created an ecosystem and pepper it with one odd reliable name once in a while. They are generally not able to lay their hands on anybody of consequence, until and unless that person wants to dish out his story. Devoid of the main characters, they have to run the show, the more masala, vested interest, hidden agendas and commercials, the more successful they are.

The viewer and recipient are nowhere in picture. The main players over the years feel this is a better way to do things, rather than to prepare, speak or write and be held accountable for it. Vocal middlemen are a whole army of media guys, specially picked up communicators with no training in it, spokespersons, anybody who can speak that language, and the ones who can provide covering fire. These are ably supported by graphics, video / pic editing, music, social media experts who are paid a price of their liking. They are like musicians to a play back singer. Social media has transformed itself into a Vocal Middlemen Super Army, while remaining undercover mostly and can-do immense damage to the target. They are crude professionals out on the prowl. All this at the expense of democracy, sanity, accountability, professional ethics and to help create a skewed thinking.

Sanjay Sahay

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