oppn parties Politicians Imagine Conspiracies by the Media

News Snippets

  • SC says it will revisit its definition of 'Hindutva' in the light of growing hate speeches
  • Indigo reduces the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra to three months after an inquiry committee finds that it was a Level 1 offense not meriting a 6-month ban
  • Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral says Delhi Police did not act on his phone call asking them to help 16 people trapped in riot-hit areas
  • AAP councillor Tahir Hussain, booked for murder and arson, says he is being framed
  • New HC bench allows the Delhi Police plea that the situation is no conducive to the filing of FIRs and also allows the Centre to become a party to the case
  • Justice S Muralidhar of the Delhi High Court, who was part of the bench that pulled up the Delhi Police for not filing FIRs against BJP leaders for hate speeches, transferred to Punjab HC
  • Two Special Investigation Teams (SITs) of Crime Branch in Delhi Police have been formed under DCP Joy Tirkey and DCP Rajesh Deo. The teams will immediately take over the investigations of the cases related to northeast Delhi violence. Both the teams will be under the supervision of BK Singh, additional commissioner of police (Crime Branch)
  • Sporadic violence was reported from riot-hit areas in the capital as the intensity of the madness seems to have abated. The death toll has risen to 37
  • Special DG (Training) in CRPF, S N Shrivastava, appointed special commissioner (law & order) in Delhi Police in order to quell the violence. He is also expected to take over as chief of Delhi police once Amulya Patnaik's term ends on February 29
  • Curfew and shoot at sight orders reportedly in force in some areas, but Delhi Police HQ does not issue a notice for the same
  • The Central government has pressed paramilitary forces to control the riots in Delhi
  • Mobs in Delhi target journalists, check them for religious identity and snatch equipment
  • 13 people deal until now in one of the worst spells of violence in Delhi
  • Violence in Delhi shows no signs of abating with fresh areas in the north-eastern part of the capital coming under its grip
  • Delhi High Court says DGCA was wrong in approving the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra by airlines other than Indigo for his alleged misbehavior with TV anchor Arnab Goswami aboard an Indigo flight
Delhi Police file a case for murder and arson against Aam Aadmi Party councillor Tahir Hussain. Hussain is believed to have played a role in the murder of IB staffer Ankit Sharma whose body was found in Jafrabad
oppn parties
Politicians Imagine Conspiracies by the Media

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2015-09-24 11:04:10

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Why is it that when the media highlights problems, the first reaction of most governments is that it is a ‘conspiracy’? Why would a relatively free media in a democracy indulge in conspiracies against a democratically elected government?

The facts are very disturbing. When the Park Street rape happened in Kolkata and the media took the administration to task, the immediate reaction from the state chief minister was that it was a ‘sajano ghotona’ (fabricated incident) and that it was a ‘chokranto’ (conspiracy) against her government by the opposition and the media. Then, when a series of rapes happened in Uttar Pradesh in quick succession and media reported them on the front page, a visibly disturbed Mulayam Singh Yadav and his chief minister son Akhilesh called it a media conspiracy. According to them such things happened everywhere but UP was being targeted. Later, even Arvind Kejriwal, that nobody whom the media catapulted to instant fame and then political centre stage, said that the media was after his government. He even came out with an ill-advised circular to browbeat the media. Now, as the media highlights the growing dangers of unchecked air pollution, the first response of the Central government is that it is a conspiracy.

How long are we going to live in a fool’s paradise where governments will try to brush most problems under the carpet?

No government likes to be opposed. In theory, democratically elected governments are supposed to listen to public opinion but in practice this seldom happens. Driven by their one track mind of pushing through their agenda come what may, such governments too ride roughshod over what the public thinks. Rather like Bollywood, they keep rolling out mindless fare, saying that this is what the public wants.

But governments have to be opposed. The fourth estate is a strong pillar of democracy. Its job is report and analyze all news in a fair manner and point out shortcomings in governance. This necessarily makes it look like the media is opposing the government of the day, for if the government does one good thing, it also does three bad things. If the government thinks that the media should only report the good thing and keep mum about the bad, it has another think coming. The media will be failing in its duty to the public if it does not highlight the mistakes of the government.

It is here that the problem starts. Take the four cases cited above. If corrective action was taken on the first media reports in each case, the focus of the media would have gone towards reporting how the administration was tackling the problem. The media would have followed investigations and tracked corrective measures and would have lauded the governments for taking swift action. But as the governments dragged their feet and tried to divert attention from the problem, the issues escalated. The respective governments did not do their job properly and called it a conspiracy when the media tried to do its own job well.

This is becoming a recurring feature in India. Very soon, we will become a land of million conspiracies â€" all imagined by politicians. Governments will have to realize that the media is by and large fair â€" it does not criticize just for the sake of it. Politicians will not fall from their delusionary pedestals if they themselves analyze the comments of the commentariat and, perhaps, act on them. For its part, the media â€" especially the electronic version â€" should desist from sensationalizing news. Only a responsible media will usher in an era when we might have responsible politicians in India.