by Deepika Burli
After years of establishing itself as the fourth pillar of democracy, Indian Media today has unfolded itself as one of the crucial role players in the entire functioning of the political system. To start with the basics, all that we common people in India have is the media to understand the nitty-gritty of the system. Yes, it is true however, that the media has a responsibility and is equally accountable to the people with regard to what is shown and what the truth actually is.
On this note, the Political Action Internship introduced us to the most important aspect of the election process: the Media. There is a lot more to politics and media than what we just witness every day in the news. To give us a deeper understanding of this relation, Former Editor of NewsX, Vijay Grover stated that apart from being just crucial to politics, media carefully “chooses the politicians” it wants to make sensational. How far this agenda set by media could work in the favour of the entire nation is according to me, a very unclear concept. However, today’s session gave us a clear insight into the bitter-sweet atmosphere when politics and media come together.
A press conference addressed by Prof. Rajeev Gowda on the Economic Achievements of the UPA, 2004-2014 at the KPCC, enabled us to watch the reactions of the media with regard to many highlights in Prof. Gowda’s presentation; the main being poverty upliftment. Through this interaction, it was quite certain that media scrutiny is endless and that it constantly waits for a loop-hole in the system. Those, who unlike Prof. Gowda himself, cannot endure this scrutiny, are generally looking for an image distortion.
A point quite boldly made by Mr. Grover was that “controversy can be very instrumental in gaining media’s attention.” This is very true in reality because there is a general notion that once the media’s eye is set on you, your publicity increases drastically. It’s just as the saying goes, ‘There is no bad publicity.’ But on the other hand, there was concern that media should, in the long run, be controlled or should abide by a certain law that could translate and simplify the meaning of ‘freedom of the press’.
As media now continues to declare the results of opinion polls conducted through various surveys across the nation, it comes to the question of credibility and authenticity. We learned today, from the former media personnel’s own experience, that such surveys are mostly commercial ventures and are hardly ever credible or reliable. So before voting, relying blindly on the opinion polls, it’s important to rethink about what we really want to believe.
After quite an overloaded session, I did learn that understanding the dynamics of media and politics and how the two dodge the ball endlessly throughout the election process and probably even after, is extremely instrumental to the entire system of Indian politics.