Enemy No. 1

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..

Ayush Prasad - Archives:

by Ayush Prasad
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Comment on this article

  • Clara Lewis, Kemmannu/Dubai

    Sun, Jul 25 2010

    Dear Ayush Prasad, very brilliant,I read all of your articles, and found that you can understand the root cause for the problems very well. One can see that you have the potential that you can bring changes in the society and to the nation. Good luck, wish you all the best.

  • don, Toronto

    Sun, Jul 25 2010

    Democratic countries give too much freedom to media,that is the reason individuals who control the media try to control the masses,These are the reasons there is revolt in every religious order and see what is happening in the western civilised society,There is no respect for marriage,They encourage gays and Lesbians and our young generation is good prey for pornagraphy . Materialism is taken full control of lives of our youth.The Great Hindu culture is getting exposed to the peusdo westen culture and all the moral values go down the drain.I am not against Gays and Lesbians,They can lead their lives by themseves without disturbing others in society.
    We don't get the least idea how our brothers and sisters are suffering in Iran,North Korea,Myanmar,Zimbabway and other places were dictators are ruling.

  • Ayush Prasad, Bangalore

    Sun, Jul 25 2010

    The aim of this article was to highlight the tremendous amount of power and influence which Media Agencies have today. Yes, we love to hear bad news all the time!!!

    There is a larger debate which needs to be addressed here- Should there be FDI(Foreign Direct Investment) in Media. On one side we will give Foreign Powers the ability to influence our countrymen which can be harmful, especially in times of War. But on the other side, Foreign Media be a bridge which can prevent wars, by creating a better understanding.

    Assume allowing Geo TV of Pakistan to operate in India. It will show us Pakistani perspective about India, which would allow us to understand Pakistan better and may be bridge the Indo-Pak divide. But it may only show stories of Indian Army Excesses and even plant false stories, which may dent our patriotism...

    So, should there be FDI in MEDIA?

  • Clara Lewis, Kemmannu/Dubai

    Sun, Jul 25 2010

    One cannot deny the fact that nowadays there are lots of bad things happening in the world and people are curious to know about the bad News, if more bad news, more people buy news papers and watch televison, and more money for editors, who is benefited more, the News editors.

    But we cannot live without news, editors must take extra care when they report the news. We must support them, through them many of the critical issues reached out to common people. Few years ago, people use to wait to watch, 10.00pm english News on TV, to know the on going issues in the world. Now with modern technology even in very remote areas people have access to News channels, and can watch live news. Ayush Prasad well writen article, keep writing, there is truth in your article. My good wishes with you. God bless you.

  • SNath, Chicago

    Sat, Jul 24 2010

    Enjoyed reading the role of media in our thinking of the world, particularly, Indian media. Mr. Prasad has a nice way of conveying the deepest truth about media. India does have a free media and that's something to be proud of. The media does however, just like the movers and shakers of Indian society (ie. those whose names make it to the media thanks to the media anonymous bureaucrats, politicians) focus overwhelmingly (say, 80%) on each other, as alluded in this article about "metros", but forget the 80% of Indians who live in the rural society.
    Look forward to more such reflective essays by Mr. Prasad.

  • Vera Alvares, Mumbai

    Sat, Jul 24 2010

    Super article! And the best part is that you are a part of the media, are you throwing up your hands in despair so soon? We know about the 'paid news' etc. But we also know that there is a silver lining to the cloud of woes you have faithfully accounted- by focusing on an injustice and whipping up a frenzy against that particular grave injustice, media can right what has gone wrong, if it wants to...! But the media barons too have theri political leanings.... you scratch my back, i'll scratch yours!

    But the media fails without the support of the people who would rather turn a blind eye to the corruption, exploitation because people are busy making ends meet...and the illiterate ones are ignorant of what is happening in the country. That is precisely why the political leaders believe in keeping the masses poor and illiterate.....so you have ths power of the pen, take up cudgels on behalf of your helpless countrymen....wish you luck!

  • Neelkamal, Patna/Mysore

    Fri, Jul 23 2010

    Media makes us aware of the world and it is one of the only transparent organisations of the country. I am proud of our media. This article is spreading a notion which is not true and correct


    Fri, Jul 23 2010

    Good article.Media could be enemy number one for those who are guilty or anti-socials.Any how powerful media is must requirement for democratical system of govt.Media is fourth estate of the democracy.I believe skeptism doubt are healthy attitudes.Cynicim wrinkles the soul but skpetism is healthy critical attitude.So every things have it's own pros and cons.Can we think of world with out free media???

  • Kateel Ramesh Prabhu, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Fri, Jul 23 2010

    Good article which throws light on the present day maladies in the socceity.As stated in the last para I fully endorse the views of the writter.Media is realy powerful but unfortunately very few have unbiased presentation and a large section is prejudicial to the interest of the country.Howeever,common man is unable to understand the real motives.

  • Rakesh Noronha, Bangalore/Karkala

    Fri, Jul 23 2010

    Nice article.Very well written.This shows how we are addicted to these news channels and world created by them...

  • AjitKumar, Mangalore

    Fri, Jul 23 2010

    Ayush Prasad, Your article about the media is the alarm bell for everyone to wake up and explore the reality. But the problem is we are gradually getting desensitized in all respects listening and seeing the daily Corruption, Violence and sex scandals in most of the places. The Breaking News every minute is breaking our nerves. The continuous loop of violence footage have numbed our brains. The repeated propaganda has brainwashed us. We are seeing corrupt walking free with his booty, the heinous sex offenders who should rot in jail are let loose, Criminals with thousands of cases against them skip bail and are roaming free , continuing their illegal acts. Are we slowly getting immunized to these diseases naturally or are being willfully vaccinated by media must be our concern.
    Hats off to you Ayush May your pen be the most powerful weapon on earth. May god bless you.

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