The general public comes to know about the daily issues mainly through the media. The UN human rights committee has recognized that the media plays a significant role in a democratic society. It is the duty of the media to inculcate within the masses with values and beliefs that shall integrate societies.
But in India, everything goes downhill. A new era of media reporting has been ushered in. Media in India has no longer remained an objective and impartial entity which otherwise must provide truthful and objective information to the people, that shall help the masses in forming rational opinions which is sine qua non in a democracy. Rather, huge caches of biased and flawed presentations are routinely aimed at the masses. It is mainly because the levers of power are in the hands of state. The media is monopolistically being controlled and often adjuncted by malicious censorship against those who don’t confirm to their vitriolic propaganda. The daily taming of the mainstream media across India is happening under everyone’s nose. Media in today’s India is clearly serving the state, not the nation, and the dominant elite.
It is in persuarance of the ruling party’s agenda, India is these days witnessing a steady flow of radical nationalists on media channels which confirms the fact that at the moment India is witnessing a cunning but sturdy method of providing experts who say what establishment wants said. Not only this, but the quality coverage has also been designed to score political points. For example, not considering the kind of coverage given to the Kashmir conflict, in the present ongoing farmers agitation 6 farmers were killed during the protests which are blamed on police and CRPF by the farmers but the media channels have already absolved the state machinery from this crime, obviously by citing the official sources.
In a healthy democracy, and not in a farce one, the official sources are overcome or weakened by the highly revered unofficial sources that give dissident views. But this problem has already been cunningly tackled by the Indian media channels by adopting experts, whose reasoning capacity echoes between the two walls of red cheeks and Dalali.
The dissident opinion is being repressed viciously. The media has worn the jingoistic robe which has made them the opinion spindoctors. They do so by taking a set of assumptions supported by the so called experts which reflect their basic idea of the propaganda model and then they feed the people a wide range of debates within that Kafkaesque framework. The framework also includes insults and ridicule for the non-conformists on live shows. The Indian media have institutionalized such low standards. This sort of operational procedure adopted by the media reinforces and authenticates the “set of assumptions” and has so far successfully ingrained in the minds of Indian people and the outcome of which is that people today are saying that it is better to be a cow than being a Muslim or Dalit in India.
This points out that at present, India is facing a citizenship deficit. The Indian state considers some Indians as citizens which are tirelessly being willfully indoctrinated by abusing Indian mainstream media and the rest are treated as subjects who lack all the privileges that are available to the citizens. Additionally, furthering the state agenda, Indian media have started to worship blind nationalism, which has concluded in dividing the Indian people into two categories conformists and non conformists viz. those who accept the ruling parties communal agenda and serves their interests and those who do not, respectively. What seems more intriguing is that the conformist victims are featured prominently and are humanized by moulding the context and details of their stories so that the readers sympathize with them. In contrast, non conformist victims get a slight detail, minimal humanization and meagre space and context that excites and enrages the people.
A good example of “conformist” Indian is the recently Honored Major Gogoi who was decorated with gallantry medal for taking an unarmed innocent Kashmiri as a human shield, which is illegal according to the “laws of land as well as the international laws”. It also exposed the myopic and selective reporting against the non-conformists, since most of the Kashmiris are considered to be so. On one side India has invoked international laws at ICJ in order to protect Kulbhushan Yadav, but on the other side it is shredding the provisions of the same international laws (Geneva Convention) which prohibits using humans as shields irrespective of the nature of the situation. The Indian state and it’s subsidiaries which is it’s media, have sent out a message, loud and clear.
All this is being done on the basis of fabrications and biased opinions and when such themes collapse of its own burden, the media channels quietly close the topic and move to the another topic. For example, the GPS chip in new Rs 2000 note and the radioactive ink in it was aired by major news channels in India and later they hid their heads in their tails when it was proved to be a mere imagination. This had made India and it’s media a laughing stock at the international level as well, thereby ruining the image and credibility of both.
It is high time for the Indian media to come out of their A.C. equipped war rooms and introspect if they are being abused by a political party for dessiminating their political agenda at the cost of media’s credibility. The jingoistic mindset is not going to take either the Indian media or the state of India to any heights, rather it is and will keep deterring the interests of India at home and aboard, equally; which is rightly noted by Mr. Markanday Katju that many people in India and abroad have been saying that Indian media have become irresponsible and wayward, and needs to be reined in.