T h e

K a s h m i r

T  e  l  e  g  r  a  p  h

Vol I Issue IX

A Kashmir Bachao Andolan Publication

January 2003

I N S I D E


 

Spotlight 

Romeet K WATT

 

Editorial     

TKT Says......

 

GuestColumn     Krishnamoorty       

 

Big Fight      

Romeet K WATT

 

On Track     

Romeet K WATT

 

Opinion

T R Jawahar

 

Analysis

Sawraj Singh

 

State Craft

Romeet K WATT

 

Report

SAT Feature

 

Last Word

Romeet K WATT

 

 


 

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O P I N I O N

Gujarat: Media's moment of infamy

T R Jawahar


IN Gujarat, it was not the Congress that was pitted against the BJP but the 'secular' media composed of national dailies with their notional agendas and the Stars for whom even the sky was not the limit when it came to BJP-bashing or Modi-baiting. The election results have come as a crushing defeat for them, the true opposition, the ones who actually fought the battle day in day out and at every nook and cranny of the beleaguered State.

 

And Modi has won despite their best efforts. They had developed such a stake in these elections that had Modi lost, it would have been celebration time not as much at 10 Janpath, as at the studios and newsrooms. Little wonder that the articulate psephologists have all become crestfallen apologists. And they are taking the defeat in very bad grace as is evident from their reactions. It took these intelligent characters quite sometime to realise that their game was up.

 

When the results started pouring in with the BJP establishing an early lead in about 90 constituencies as against the Congress tally of 61, the media 'stars' were still optimistic. After all, it was not much of a margin and the Congress could easily bridge the gap, went their confident refrain, in the process throwing all professional caution t o the winds. And as the day wore on and the writing on the wall became starker and clearer to their jaundiced eyes, they all, without exception, first began picking holes with all the statistical tools at their disposal and when even that seemed incongruent with reality as it unfolded, proceeded in exasperation to blame the riots for the victory.

 

Their argument was, if there were no riots, BJP would have lost and that had the elections been held before February, things would have been different. If only life was that easy, if only wishes were horses, if only... They are yet to reconcile to 'their' defeat and are busy inventing excuses for their fall. The morning papers as well as Prime Time panel discussions are now awash with doomsday predictions for the nation. The last few days of coverage of the elections by the English media were indeed quite revealing.

 

Analysis after analysis and analyst after analyst went to town on how the Congress was gaining ground at a spectacular pace. The shining stars blew hot and cold through the idiot box, reeling out images and graphics, on how the designs of the 'communal forces' are all se t to be thwarted. And not to be outdone in the secular race, a very 'secular' national daily sporting a 'communal' masthead even announced the nemesis for 'moditva' with some 'brilliant' constituency-wise dissections of the impending defeat for the 'hindutva forces'.

 

The correspondent, by all means a trained professional, confidently declared that the saffron wave was dissipating in the face of a Congress surge. Such analyses were aided ably by opinions of 'experts' who all predicted in chorus in perfect sync with their investigative journos who had made these startling discoveries about the mood of the voter, that only they seemed privy to! There was also a former Chief Justice who announced that the BJP would sit in the opposition after December 12. Then came the clarion call to the Gujarat voters to reject the 'chalice of poison' as represented by the BJP, a call that however ignored the 'truckloads of RDX' that the enemies of the nation symbolised.

 

The Gujarat voters, as it has turned out, seemed more concerned about the explosive truckloads than imaginary chalices! In all these shenanigans, it is the reputations of these media that have come under a cloud. In their secular zeal as well as a committed hatred for anything Modi, they all overstretched their professional wisdom and staked their credibility. The same is now in a shambles at the bottom of the electoral pit. They bemoaned and cried foul over the harvest of hatred being indulged in by the BJP, little realising that it is they who were being driven by hate and hubris. They raved and ranted over a Congress comeback, extolled no end the Sonia magic, highlighted the potency of the 'Vaghela phenomenon', described with 'startling accuracy' the damage being inflicted by the 'Keshubai factor' on the BJP fortunes and then praised the bureaucracy for 'bravely' standing up to Modi.

 

There were also claims that most of the voters were undecided and are sure to play spoilsport to the BJP's plans what with caste equations and tribal tendencies showing clear signs of emerging out of the shadow of riots to their original levels. In all this they deliberately closed their eyes to the hardening of the psyche of the voters that had taken place long back. They did have their ears to the ground, but those were deaf ears, a selective deafness rather, a willingness to hear only what suited their analyses. And we all know that their analyses were all based on what they wished, not what was. The sinister motives of the media have also been laid bare.

 

Indeed, they all seem to have an agenda that transcends the normal call of professional duty. Of course, they would love to couch it with the garb of secularism and then parade it as national interest, but that as we all know is a fast crumbling facade. It is not that the people are getting communal, it is only that there is a growing recognition amidst them on the dangers t o their selves and the country that the mindless and grossly one-sided secular rhetoric portends. The failure of the media to sense this insecurity as well as the consequential welling up of indignation is a self-inflicted malaise. That they continue to brand this legitimate display of self-defence as well as self respect as communal besides ridiculing and trivialising them only shows that their tryst with falsehood and malicious propaganda is irrevocable.

 

Such deception, of self and the readers, stems from the presumptuousness of the English media about their own importance. Gone are the days when newspaper editorials and opinion columns used to lead public opinion. Today, they have to only reflect public opinion. Of course, the duty to correct misconceptions still vests with the media, but such a course can no longer be thrust on the readers or viewers who are discerning and well-informed.

 

The people at large have all grown out of bounds of media influence and use the latter only for procuring information and often for entertainment but not as much for enlightenment. They are eminently capable of forming their own opinions given the facts. And are also in a position to check the facts with their own instincts besides finding out the motive of the writer. In this context, the media's assumptions about their own intellectual and moral superiority and their tendency to march against the tide of truth only means that they have woefully lost touch with the grassroots as well as their professional basics. And this could only be at the cost of credibility as well as audience. The latter could care less: They will either switch channels or flip over to the Classifieds!

 

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