Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Indian Electronic Media is Afraid to ask the Real Questions!

Written by Anil Singh

Why is Media often called an important pillar of a democracy?

Because, it shows Mirror to the people and the society they live in. And when, we say People, then we mean all people -- irrespective of their caste, creed, class, economic status AND irrespective of the profession they are engaged in.

To fulfill its primary role of a conscience keeper of the people and the society; Media asks Questions.

Not just Questions: but questions which go to the depth of the intentions and actions of people and the society. When Media stops asking such Questions; or stops asking questions to a particular person or to people belonging to a certain cast, creed or profession. Sadly, it loses its Edge and becomes redundant.

And when this happens, then people like Justice Katju say,

Average person's intellectual level is so low- wants to hear news about things like actresses becoming pregnant!

Actually Justice Katju blamed the Average person wrongly; when the fault lies on the Media; who for its vested interests has stopped raising the real questions; and hence has forced the average person to consume non-serious news. Which Justice Katju refers as ‘things like actresses becoming pregnant!'.

Let I give you an example.

All through today, the news channels were busy with news and talk shows about India going to test "Inter Continental Agni 5 missile".

Both in their talk shows and reporting; the news channels are reporting it as a great milestone in India's defense capability; something which can be real deterrent for India's hostile neighbors.

Talk shows, which had ex Defense officers, politicians in their panel, are making the entire discussion; an overtly patriotic exercise.

An exercise in which the panelists kept thumping on the question of "Country's Pride and Security"; media doesn't ask the Real Questions and the viewer is least inclined to see the other face of the coin.

The viewer is simply gliding on the patriotic wave.

What are the Real Questions associated with the news, which the media should be asking?

Before coming to the Real Questions the media should be asking; a brief look at a few things which will help you understand the Real Questions.

It's a common belief in India that -- Army rules Pakistan.

It may or may not be true, as Pakistan always had a civil Government, although many a times headed by an Army General; but there are a few things which can be said for sure (as they are documented facts). 

One is, of all armies in the world, Pakistan Army takes highest share for itself from country's GDP. Second is, Army Officers in Pakistan, quite disproportionately hold country's most lucrative real estate. Wealth distribution in Pakistan is skewed towards Pakistan Army establishment as well.

To maintain the status quo and keep pulling more and more resources for itself; the Pakistan Army keeps raising the question of “threat from India”. It appears to be succeeding in this fear psychosis up to now; and if the common man of Pakistan keeps believing his Army; then hopefully Pakistan Army will succeed in its agenda in future as well.

Pakistan Army is not an exception; armies world-wide, are seen to have such tendencies; unless regulated well by a Civilian Government.

The role of a Civilian Government regarding Army is twofold:

1) Keeping a regulation on the overtly patriotic rhetoric of army; and

2) Irrespective of the Army’s demands, spending only that much amount of national money on Army; which the Government feels is just for the country as a whole. That’s, for the sake of Army’s constant rhetoric on defense preparedness; the Government can’t ignore the county’s population.

In a scenario, where the Civilian Government of a country is weak or Media starts giving Army establishment too much coverage; the Army starts dominating, just like in Pakistan.

On this foundation, let I share with you the Real Questions:

During General VK Singh’s age row; majority of Indian Electronic media failed to ask one Question to the General:

Why is he raising the issues to the media; when he should raise them to the Government?

Is he raising those issues, to divert the people’s attention from his Age controversy?

In more recent times, shouldn’t the media ask the Army?

Is Army’s too much stress on India’s insufficient defense preparedness and security in recent times; emanating from its (Army’s) desire to become a more strong force within the country?

A little ago, when the Indian parliament unanimously said that Army should not be included under Lokpal,

Then why didn't Media ask the reason for doing so?

Was Indian Media, not aware of Corruption in Armed forces?  

Some of these questions will appear highly objectionable to many, but that’s the role OR the power of Media. Media can ask even those questions which the Governments and other groups can’t ask for various reasons. And after all, India is the same country where men in uniform did Sukna Land fraud. So why not ask questions.

If media fails to ask these questions; it fails in its responsibility.

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