Well, I am not supposed to write here on such topics like Anna Hazare's fight against corruption. But, what incensed me is the way english media was writing on this episode. This kind of reporting also proved my earlier observation that reporting of Islamic extremism by english media is not just guided by political correctness or some lofty principle like secularism (for which I stand firmly) but they themselves have become corrupt. Worst thing is, majority section of english media have arrogated themselves to appoint themselves as sole representatives of enlightened opinions and policies.
Very recently, when I was commenting on two blogs, one with regard to Egyptian protests and another with regard to spectrum scandal, I made this observation: English media is not going to co-operate in struggle against corruption. People have the right to feel that this political establishment is purely opportunistic and devoid of any broad principles; but what many do not realize is media is also part of this oppressive establishment. Media follows power and revenues. Unfortunately, many in India are bewitched by glamor and popularity of likes of Bakra Dutt's (and her likes) reporting with out any substance.
I read a telugu daily (Eenadu) which commendably was covering this episode on its front page and also on inside pages. But, english media? Just as an example, I am putting this piece that appeared in indian express:
Of the few, by the few (written by some one with a name Pratap Bhanu Mehta)
Sometimes a sense of unbridled virtue can also subvert democracy. The agitation by civil society activists over the Jan Lokpal Bill is a reminder of this uncomfortable truth. There is a great deal of justified consternation over corruption. The obduracy of the political leadership is testing the patience of citizens. But the movement behind the Jan Lokpal Bill is crossing the lines of reasonableness. It is premised on an institutional imagination that is at best naïve; at worst subversive of representative democracy.Who is going to decide those lines of reasonableness and how do you define them? It is pure arrogance to name this movement as subversion of democracy, that too with out bothering to go in to details.
The morality of fasting unto death for a political cause in a constitutional democracy has always been a tricky issue. There is something deeply coercive about fasting unto death. When it is tied to an unparalleled moral eminence, as it is in the case of Anna Hazare, it amounts to blackmail.What is worse? Taking more than 20 years for a bill to be initialized (not yet passed) or peaceful form of protest. Terming this whole struggle and exercise as blackmail gives away what this english media really values: revenues and profits and reporting with out any insights.
....But in a functioning constitutional democracy, not having one’s preferred institutional solution to a problem accepted, does not constitute a sufficient reason for the exercise of such coercive moral power. This is not the place to debate when a fast-unto-death is appropriate. But B.R. Ambedkar was surely right, in one of his greatest speeches, to warn that recourse to such methods was opening up a democracy to the “grammar of anarchy”.Functioning constitutional democracy? This must be a cruel joke on ordinary people. To call inability to pass a bill in 20 years as functioning amounts to insulting intelligence of people.
Look at the guy's statement: 'this is not a place to debate ....'. If news papers are not a place to debate, where should people debate. Actually, media does not like people questioning media itself.
His mentioning of the great Ambedkar is purely hypocritical, cheap rhetoric and deceptive too. In a proper world, what he said makes sense but great Ambedkar lived in a different period in different circumstances. He himself might not have realized that our political class along with media will become such corrupt like they were today. To quote great historical people to shut down discussions and struggles shows lack of morality and ethics and also force in their reasoning.
Note 1: One can also read from mediacrooks.com on media coverage.
I just put up one article as an example because of lack of time. But if people come across some good and interesting, thought provocative ones, please email url addresses of those articles to email@example.com.
Note 2 : I also called my friend in New Delhi to ask whether I can also turn up at the site of protest or hunger strike; he told me I am welcome but for now it was not needed. I just hope that such demonstrations will be held across India in all cities and towns. But I am not optimistic on this because many Indians have internalized and rationalized presence of corruption in our every day life.
For further reading: The company that Hazare keeps
The following one 'sense and senility' from mediacrooks.com is good. Some excerpts from it:
“If a poor child does not have any means for education, then how will Lokpal bill help? If a poor man needs help for medical services then he will call up a politician. How will the Lokpal bill help”? That is a statement attributed to Kapil Sibal (TOI April 12).The worrying aspect of all this is not Kapil Sibal's statement but a news paper reporting on it and not ripping apart those kind of statements.
Anna Hazare’s campaign has been called a comic revolution (Manu Joseph of Open magazine) and ‘rule of the unelected’ by many media persons.So media is an extension of Govt. or is a propaganda machine for people in Govt. It suddenly looks like we are being ruled by oligarchy; no, it is always like this.