November 24, 2011

The Gagging Concert

Who issued the gag order to the media for coverage on the birth of the Bachchan grandchild? Do we want a more ‘obedient’ media?

It is unclear on who issued the gag-order to the media. But the media went obedient is a matter of concern.  |  Cartoon by Canon; from singhsworld.files.wordpress.com  |  Click for larger source image.

It is unclear on who issued the gag-order to the media. But the media went obedient is a matter of concern. | Cartoon by Canon; from singhsworld.files.wordpress.com | Click for larger source image.

The news of Aishwarya Rai’s pregnancy and her star-studded baby shower grabbed print and electronic media coverage galore. But thanks to a 10-point directive against excessive coverage on TV of her childbirth, news channels hadskeleton coverage when she delivered a baby girl Wednesday. (via dnaIndia.com | TV channels stay away from ‘breaking’ Bachchan baby news)

Speak no Evil or Don’t Speak at All?

Going mute, has now become a virtue, almost fashionable.

Consider Anna Hazare’s मौन व्रत from last month. He lost his voice, when faced with answeringtroubling questions about his “team” on a लोकपाल (national ombudsman) crusade. He chose मौन, rather than answer the inevitable question of who will guard the guards, when the guards themselves have shown a history of questionable conduct.

Although Hazare was mute, the media was going gung-ho over every word that came out of the Hazare camp.

In the case of the Bachchan baby, the media collaborated to collectively respect the privacy of the Bachchan family.

That is troubling.

Is the Anna campaign running out of steam? Thin on agenda, low on energy.  |  Cartoonist credit source missing; cartoon from post By as Kahol and Piyush Srivastava;  source and courtesy - msn.com  |  Click for source image.

Is the Anna campaign running out of steam? Thin on agenda, low on energy. | Cartoonist credit source missing; cartoon from post By as Kahol and Piyush Srivastava; source and courtesy - msn.com | Click for source image.

Collaboration or Collusion?

The question is not whether respecting the Bachchan family’s privacy is a “good” thing or not.

It is not troubling that the media chose to downplay the event of the birth to respect their privacy. What is troubling is that the media was able to act, in concert, on a 10-point directive!

This particular directive was “public”, but it is entirely possible, that the media outlets get such “private” directives as well.

It is the existence of these directives, and the ability of the media to follow such directives, that begs the question if the media outlets were collaborating for a “good” cause or are they of colluding – which then can be use to manufacture news stories?

Does that explain why the media is gagging in concert on any news of Ramdev, whose massive rallies in rural India showcases his views on polity that echo the Indic Triad of Freedom?

Does the media gag because Ramdev speaks of less governance, less tax and more personal responsibility?

Because manufactured news is माया, is the media generally gagging Ramdev related news, in concert, because those who own these outlets fear Indic Polity?

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