One of the few journalists who stood out as a beacon of hope for Indian journalism while his colleagues from other news channels were busy acting as hired newscasters for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Ravish Kumar is spot on when he talks about how the Indian media houses, who are supposed to ask some tough and probing questions to those in power about the problems being faced by our fellow, instead decided to roll over and remove those very issues from the discourse.
I spent the night watching an episode of #thewiredialogues with Ravish Kumar. He is among the few reporters left in our country who still has the spine to call out the government for its hypocrisy on communal violence and its deliberate mismanagement of our economy. The discussion focussed on a lot of issues but prime among them was the state of Indian media (print, tv and digital).
The great betrayal
It is an open secret that a large section of our media has given up on the slight bit of integrity that it had before 2014 and has instead allowed itself to be used by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government as their Public Relations wing.
Ravish is right about how our Indian media has removed the space that was reserved for the general public and replaced it with a set of people whose only job is to praise the government and demonize anyone who dares to ask a question about their work.
At the same time their levels of sycophancy towards the ruling party was beyond shameful. The interviews they conduct with those in our government, especially our Prime Minister and Home Minister, is an embarrassment. Instead of asking them tough questions about the problems being faced by our country, our interviewers help them in actively lying to the public. Instead of grilling them on the policy decisions taken over the last five years, our so- called prime time interviewers spend time enquiring about their sleeping habits or their wallets.
The Hindu – Muslim syllabus
They have actively engaged for the past five years in promoting derisive communal propaganda that our government wants to use so that they can brainwash and divide Hindus from Muslims while also dehumanizing the followers of Islam.
There are tonnes of examples of how the media is using our flawed perceptions about ‘the othering’ of a specific community to sow the seeds of discord. They spend their airtime by broadcasting and glorifying those perceptions on their platforms and give it a sort of legitimacy. The public that consumes this platform also blindly follows this news since it reinforces their perception.
This rabid form of Islamophobia has led to the creation of a mob mentality that only believes in normalizing physical or psychological violence against those very communities. The alarming rise in lynchings across India and the highly condemnable acts of violence being carried out by the police in Uttar Pradesh, Assam and various other parts of the country, in the name of maintaining law and order are a proof of the venom of bigotry that has spread all across the country. It has infiltrated each and every section of our society and even the people who are responsible for maintaining law and order as evidenced by the repeated instances of Police brutality that we have seen in the past few weeks.
Where are the real issues?
While doing all that, they have conveniently pushed aside the real news about issues concerning the public like our sliding economy, the non-creation of jobs, the collapse of law and order, the precarious condition of our environment, the abysmal state of our educational institutions, the dilapidated agricultural sector, the sorry state of our banking sector which is carrying the burden of alarmingly high and loans, farmer suicides, the strikes and protests going around in the country.
Our standing in the world as a secular and progressive nation that had a robust economy growing by leaps and bounds has taken a heavy beating. Our domestic issues have multiplied over the past few years. The flagship policies started by our government have damaged the economy instead of helping it grow. In short, we are royally screwed. But all our media cares about is the Chest Size of our Prime Minister or if he likes Mangoes.
Image Source: Business Standard