Indian History is full of evidences of ‘divide and rule’; a notorious by-product of the Imperial Legacy. Even now, we stand divided seven decades later. The trend of political extremisim and politicization of media has played a major role in this country.
It has successfully aided power hungry politicians to lure the unsuspecting vote bank by incorporating caste and religion. The politicians are capitalizing on their politics of hatred. This has resulted in an uneasy atmosphere. The slightest political differences had led to violent public outbursts.
Media: Tool for Mass Political Education
What we’re living through now is the election season. Political atmosphere in India is spoiled with radicalized thoughts and speeches. A new age of political education has emerged.
This is courtesy of various instruments of mass and social media. Nowadays, news channels are being used as a platform of political spoon-feeding. It is a norm for a political party to buy or ‘anonymously’ invest in news agencies. ‘Freedom to Report’ is used to spread political half-truths. This permits the Representatives to navigate the murky election waters strategically. This more or less, control the electoral outcome by duping the people.
Politicization of Media
The role of Media, as the fourth pillar of democracy, has always been to aid in forming public opinion. Media is a vital instrument in keeping a check on the government. Media ensures that there is transparency in the democratic setup. In a recent speech, a former vice president remarked on the importance of media and said,
‘Media is supposed to be a guardian of public interest, an honest witness to events, a tool to hold government accountable to the people. It is meant to be a bridge between the people and the government by facilitating dialogue for the formulation and implementation of state policies in accordance with the wishes of the people.’
In reality, media has been reduced to a mere vehicle of ‘bought’ information. It essentially serves as a medium to broadcast biased and selective information. This is often based on what the controlling party wants its viewers to see and think. Therefore, owning a news channel in today’s time can make it or break it for most parties.
Politics is a tricky business. It should be handled with finesse and sensitivity. Politics was once regarded as a noble profession. Today it has degraded into a vocation dedicated to spreading hate-mongering. It is evident that contemporary politicians are all focused on getting to the coveted ‘seat’ shining at the end of an electoral victory. Reliance is placed on Media to pit people of diversity against each other to fulfill political aspirations. It goes without saying that today’s media is an easily appeased political ‘man Friday’.