No, this article does not talk about Naxalites or Reddy Brothers. I don’t really blame you for your clichéd expectation, it actually the fault of the media. The media dictates our likes, our dislikes, makes people heroes and also decide our problems. College has ended and my job requires me to join a couple of months later. At an old age of 21, I lead a retired life, reading five newspapers, multiple news-websites, watch every debate on TV Channels and by the time I lay on bed I could narrate you every piece of news. I feel personal enmity towards murderers of the world and sense of brotherhood towards every person in distress. If for some reason, I am unable to follow up on news on the 24X7 channel, I feel I am missing out on something in life. I am plagued by thoughts of what could have happened. I was more a part of Dhoni’s marriage, though watching it on TV, than I was for my own cousin’s marriage. I feel closer to the Newsmakers of the day than to my own family!!!
Like most people in the world, I live in a box, a small world of my own. The size of the box may vary from person to person. But it basically encompasses the people who we meet and places that we visit, in our daily existence. It could be a home-shop-traffic light combination for some, while for me, it is my home. Media is like a window to the outer world. It shows us a world, which is beyond our box. It forms our opinion and there are very few who are able to think differently from what we are fed from this window.
Pen was once called mightier than the sword, but the Pen, along with a mike and a camera is way mightier than the might of the nuclear bomb. Today, a bunch of Editors control our thought, most of us have become puppets in their hands. They can spread roumers, fear, get us to fight – riot, encourage us to hate democracy, though it is the best political system. Everything in the world seems corrupt and sold, the only thing being honest and forthright being the Media.
Media is said to be a reflection of the world, but when News and Views mingle, the lines of distinction between the two blur, the refection of the world, gets laterally inverted. Views are fed as News, thoughts become facts and the world gets misled. The news that we see and read is it something that really defines the times we live in or is it merely a part of the world, shown by the Editors.
A heavy downpour in Delhi had the city waterlogged and caused Traffic Jams for a few hours. There were Live Reports, people narrating tales of how water had entered their homes; the Municipality got blamed for not clearing the gutters. I watched the news being played out time and again; I felt angst and completely sympathized with the residents. The Municipality was the corrupt culprits who never work, while the entire city suffers. I downloaded the videos of the waterlogged streets, zoomed in and out, I almost cried. Given a chance, I would happily vandalize the Municipal Offices and Burn down a truck. I would protest. In between all of this, I saw a clogged drainage and the stagnant water around it. I also happened to notice a house which had encroached upon the foot-path, another large mall which was under construction and had bricks and gravel blocking the gutter. I was looking closely at the video and something stuck me.
I was on a trip to Delhi a week before these floods. I bought a packet of chips at the airport and relished it for about fifteen minutes. My journey was long, I had to travel another 45 minutes and there was no way, I was going to hold on to that packet. As we crossed the mall under construction, I lowered the window pane of my car, I shook my head seeing a Municipal officer being bribed and conveniently let the packet slip out of my hands. Without a second thought, I continued my journey. I could see in the video, my packet was amongst the many others, which blocking the gutter. I somehow felt responsible for the Delhi Floods.
I read several newspapers and watch as many news channels, hence found a small clipping about a flood in a rural area, which incidentally washed away several thousand hectares of crops affecting lakhs of people. A classmate hailed from that region so gave him a curtsey call. I did not really feel as strongly about the people there, as it was not adequately covered in the press. My friend told me how the farmers are suffering, due to the lack of drinking water, problems of sanitation, dry clothing and disease. Dairy farmers had lost heard of cattle while agriculturists lost their annual income. Having no insurance scheme, they had all been pushed below poverty line due to a year of forced unemployment.
This part of the world had gone forgotten. The Media didn’t run to them, with mikes in their hands. Politicians and charitable persons made their promises to re-build their homes and the media told us that these people are heroes. Nobody really cared to bother to know the real issues of the people there. Their problems were decided by others and also solved by others. The Local MLA declared that using the Local Area Development Funds he would reconstruct all the houses. According to Planning Commission rules of Development, the houses that must be constructed should be Pucca. But the region was hot, did not have proper electrification and hence fans would not work. The Pucca houses made of bricks and mortar, became hot and unlivable. The villagers abandoned the homes and reconstructed their mud homes, which were cooler, creating a wasteland in the middle of the village. When the Housing Plan was conceived, the prices in the local markets were lower, but due to sudden increase in demand, the pices went up. The project went over-budget, some homes were not constructed! The Media again visited the village, they saw unfulfilled promised, the MLA became a villain for failing to construct the homes.
Allegations of corruptions flew thick and fast. The Urban World felt that the Rural masses did not deserve the Pucca homes, as they did not use their generosity. Media had created a problem of housing as a major problem but it was not the only issue. A dairy farmer lost all his sheep, which were his only source of income. Having no work in the village he migrated to the city, setting one little home in a city slum, abandoning his MLA Constructed home. The members in the media seem to be expert on everything but many a times, they do not understand complex issues. We all get stuck in their analysis and fail to think for ourselves.
The Media may be a national agency or a local one, but the regions where it is concentrated in larger numbers, would get covered to a greater extent. The news from these areas is a greater significance. Bomb Blast in Mumbai is far more important than one in Raipur. The Raipur blast may kill more people but it is just an attack on Raipur. The Television channels will showcase grabs from local media, some stories on the suffering people and demands would be raised for Government compensation. But an attack on Mumbai becomes an attack on India. It would be followed by all forms of media for days; the investigation would be a daily soap, each one of us would read about the victims in website, blogs, see pictures clicked by phone camera and feel a loss that a close relative has passed away. In our great democracy where freedom of speech is guaranteed to all citizens, some people are heard louder than the others.
Media has transformed, they are commercial ventures. Profit is the bottom line rather than a missionary zeal to present facts to the world at large. You would see those promoting movies, asking favorable questions political leaders and also increasing the size of problems. Editorials and Marketing Sections sometime get intertwined. Media would talk about encroachment by some ministers and go on and on about it, giving us a feeling that the only one encroaching in the entire country are the rich ministers. Media shows us the real world, but shows us a world they wish to create for us. Corruption is rampant in every sphere of life, both in private and public sector and Media is certainly not out of the world.
Bhagat Singh had commented that Gandhi and other Congressmen were creating peaceful leaders more conducive to be democratic, but at the same time were creating a society which only listened but never questioned. Rallies satisfy the leader’s verbal diarrhea rather than be a forum for discussion. This and many other factors have lead to a disconnect between the leader and those being led. Rock shows generate more excitement than a Political Rally. Most middle class and rich do not even attend these rallies. Media is the only bridge for masses and the government, and we are a country who like to just like to listen, without thinking about it or asking questions. We are prone to fear and distrust, anyone can create a tensed situation. Media has the impression of being the only truthful window to the world; we end up believing it without a doubt. Political posturing, shown over the day, lead to riots and neighbors turn against each other.
Media has made us skeptical about everything in the world- nothing is right in this world. Today being part of the media, I am making you skeptical about the Media itself. This would be better than being skeptical about most other things. Never believe everything the media says, take it with a pinch of salt. So finally who can be the Enemy No. 1? For a country like India, which believes everything it sees and reads, well Media can be enemy no. 1. Media has the power to spread lies, fear and hatred that you would turn against your own countrymen. Media is that spy which in the name of Breaking News will transmit live Images to Pakistani Handlers during Terrorist Attacks and sometimes, Media will create news..
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