The Media Responsibility in these Misinformed Times
Updated: Feb 12, 2021
"What goes around, comes around," the quote does not seem true of the current times given our media stories. What goes around in India, fails to come around in the media. What we see in media, and what is true are two opposing sides of the story. Most people I know, particularly the educated ones, do not readily believe in what goes around in the media. The propensity of information to seem true when it is repeatedly circulated in social circles is strong enough to throw even informed people off their cognitive balance. A majority of the journalists today are a rotten bunch. They put forth stories which are usually irrelevant to the real struggles of ordinary people. They create stories. Fictions. And then they pass these on as reality. The real facts and figures which show the specific position of the oppressed in the nation never make it to media channels. Evidently, the small and insignificant tales come into the limelight and the news media tends to shift the focus from real events which might question the very integrity of government policies and politics.
Journalism is responsible for keeping democracy alive by giving voice to the people. What happens when it becomes a domain for corporate businesses to furl their flags and hide their rotten practices? When people are mis-represented or not represented at all? When news cowers under the foot mats in the mansions of political leaders and billionnaire industrialists? What is it that people turn to now? Evidently, the social media has turned these stories on their backs and shown us the ugly face of Indian democracy. The fact that the Farmers’ Protest has taken social media by storm shows that technology has done its bit to slam realities in the face of a media that never wakes up. It may be a wake-up call, or greater still, a death knell of mis-information.
Media had become a "tamasha," a spectacle over the last decade or so. There is hardly a news channel one could take seriously. Then comes the counter-attack. Youtube is flooded with interpretative videos of media coverages and debates. Arnab Goswami is metonymous with the insensitive and irresponsible media today, and it is hilarious to watch young people mimicking him in light-hearted but thought-provoking videos that evict the news media.
The toughest part of being a viewer in such a scenario is that one cannot help but feel that we partake in all the nonsense that media houses create. Even those who knew that they cannot trust such media, did not know where to turn to? Well now we know- social media! Every discourse has a counter discourse and every structure that is made to aid corruption has an inborn tendency to undo itself and die away. Structures, after all have inherent gaps and no structure is solid enough to sustain itself forever. This is because when these structures are created and re-created, everything can not be accounted for or visualized. Something is always missed. Changes can not always be foreseen.
Who could have thought that social media that is a gift of capitalism, could turn people against capitalism and anarchy? The tools to dismount media are within it. Social media can easily be called a counter-media. It is an amalgam of diverse voices. People across the globe have a common platform where their collective demand for redressal of anarchist regimes has become a voice that keeps echoing. People today have an access to be heard 24/7. Thanks to jio mobile and other connections we can sit anywhere, anytime and speak up for ourselves. Being at least avowedly a democracy, the Indian government cannot ultimately undo the social media.
There are loop-holes in every form of media but the events of the past few days in North India have shown that the number of aware and awakened citizens in India is much more than the government would like to know about. Narendra Modi has himself been using the media towards the benefit of his party (extended party). Evidently, his talks on the radio and appearance in Man v/s Wild have not been a success after all. People want him to counter the wild places of India more than see the premier appearing on a show like that. While the PM was engaged in such futile stunts, the political and socio-economic wilderness was spreading across India. The real show is here. It is now. It is in the faces of farmers who are twisting their moustaches to taunt the government. It is here in these massive processions. Watch it and watch out for it because at some point a revolution will emerge that will rack and rumble the insides of the system.