- Three decades ago, state broadcaster Doordarshan was ridiculed and condemned by the press for behaving like ‘Rajiv Darshan.’
At the time, there was no other TV channel in India, the number of TV sets in the country was very limited. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was ridiculed by the opposition and the press for projecting himself so much.
- Now, nearly 80% of the population has access to TV. There are nearly a thousand TV channels. News channels alone are nearly 300 in all languages.
- On all these channels, there is incessant Modi Darshan. All his speeches are televised live and repeated 24×7. All radio channels are under a sort of obligation to air his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ every month and his speeches in Parliament or elsewhere.
- The print media too has begun to crawl before this ubiquitous (and narcissistic) self-proclaimed messiah. This nationwide media omnipresence of the Prime Minister has not generated criticism like it did at the time of ‘Rajiv Darshan’ in the late eighties.
- Columnists in the press and commentators on the shouting panels in TV debates, ring-mastered by the equally narcissist anchors, have not questioned this obscene personality cult.
- The same self-styled educated urban intelligentsia was so vociferously critical of Rajiv and before that of Indira Gandhi for the promotion of such a cult, which they argued, “distorted” and “destabilised” democracy. Their liberal sensibilities expressed deep revulsion and concern for India’s democratic ethos then.
- These people surrendered their sensibilities to the powers and feel absolutely comfortable in this multi-media driven glorification of the personality of the Prime Minister Modi.
- With the exceptions like Ram Jethmalani, Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie, and a few others, there are hardly any resistance to this media-led authoritarianism from the political, cultural, or intellectual class. They have failed the people and democracy.
- A kind of passive resistance is building up. More and more people feel these days that there is nothing they learn from news broadcasts. They are getting fed up with the panel discussions, as they neither grasp what the debate is about, nor who is saying what.
- Many normal viewers stopped watching news channels or debates. They get their news on their mobile phones and varied commentary on social media where they can interact on the net.
- There is also concern expressed in newspapers’ editorial that readership is becoming indifferent and unresponsive from the young and also from the old or middle-aged. There is a sharp decline in news magazine circulation.
- It is ironic that the media-communication revolution gave rise to information illiteracy among the educated. This is a wake-up call for the traditional press and TV media as their audience has become the whistle-blower.
- If Indian media becomes more and more servile towards Modi, it will lose whatever viewership they are left with.
Sound minds of India expect miracles
by electing educationally and morally illiterate to power.
While urban middle classes in 1980's were connected to rural India and urban poor and were socially conscious people, today's urban middle classes live in complete disconnection to rural India and urban poor and are fundamentally selfish. Therefore, they rally behind Modi as long as his decisions doesn't pinch them. Today's media's servility is characterized by its selfishness and business interests protection rather than any principles. There are no Ramnath Goenka's in media business now a days.