WHAT DOES THESE FIVE STATE ELECTIONS TELL US

The predictions of the five state elections resulted very obvious as majority of news media, ABP, Times, Zee, NDTV, IBN7-CNN etc, already came with the survey polls that BJP will be winning the next term. Madhya Pradesh (MP), Rajasthan and Chattisgarh are BJP’s main striking areas and after the vote counting on 8th December it was proved again. Rajasthan and MP were a thumping victory for BJP, defeating congress by a mile but Chattisgarh was a close counter, the tension went right down the wire and finally BJP came out victorious by bagging 49 out of 90 votes, gaining majority and forming government.

This certainly raises concern over the Congress’s performance, I would say, worst performance. The strategies at the center have certainly affected the state elections. Delhi is by far the best example. Whatever happened to the 15 year old Sheila government was the result of common man’s agitation against the government in power, UPA-2, which so far has been unable to fulfill the promises it made.

Now, the scenario of Delhi was considered as the semis before the 2014 lok sabha election. There is another wing of experts who support the other theory, according to them; the elections were in states which already has the high influence of BJP compared to the rest of the states. However nobody denies the fact that the result of these five states have proved that UPA-2 is at big loss prior to the 2014 lok sabha polls.

The center’s role on various issues like, 2G, Coal-gate, CWG (common wealth games), Robert Vadra property, has put them under the scanner of all- the opposition, the media and the citizens. The media has played its part by making us aware on such issues. So, what does all this tells us about the 2014 elections? There is certainly a wave of majority of people who are not content with the UPA-2 government. On the contrary, the UPA-2 government always seems t be complacent with its decisions.

This certainly is injurious thinking for the congress government. They don’t have much time left though, but if they can pull out something in these few months time hopefully they would be able to save their government. Orelse, it seems pretty clear that what happened to the four (MP, Rajasthan, Delhi & Chattisgarh) out of the five states, the rest will be followed soon on the national level.

5 states election
States were elections were held during December 2013.

Would really like positive feedback and suggestion or if you have any queries go ahead and put it in the comment box, I would try to revert as soon as possible. Just don’t make any comments supporting any political party; we are here to understand the mechanics of politics and media and not to crib about the good or the bad.

LESS CRACKERS THIS YEAR

Well, each year a lot of campaigning for noise and pollution free Deepawali is done by the media in the interest of the people of our nation. This initiative is really a brave effort by the media for which they should be applauded.

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Now it is we who need to understand the importance of noise and pollution free Deepawali. Hope all will be a part of this initiative and lead in a prosper and happy festival.

Eat sweets, light diyas (lights) and enjoy! Happy Diwali to all! Cheers!

MAMO – NAMO

What is going to happen when the two giants of the opposite parties, Mr. Prime Minister & probably future Mr. Prime Minister, will meet and might be sharing the same stage. Will ‘we’ see any hand shakes? Any smiles? Any chit-chat? Or on the contrary they both will ignore each other, which for the media will certainly be nothing much.

So what if they say hi to each other and discuss about the lunch or dinner ahead, ‘we’ want stories to run, to fill the space for tonight’s debate. Will that be possible? Of course yes, because there are many who will derive their own conclusions and will say how that is going to impact the 2014 general elections.

 

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As audience, we have to come out of all this sensationalism and watch the news as NEWS. It is a content. A meeting doesn’t matters but what comes out of that as decision or conclusion matters. Will that affect my pocket? My decision making? My mindset? My future plans? Well, this should be the points of highlight. And, this can go endless.

Start watching content wisely and choose your subject smartly!

RAHUL – MODI & NO ONE ELSE

The way media is giving coverage to Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi, it seems soon their coverage content will become cliche. Media will have to look for a new angle everytime, which certainly will not be easy. Considering the fact that elections will be conducted in May 2014, this leaves six months time span. If the content is given the same treatment again and again then it certainly would bore us.

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The media itself has made the style of news giving so entertaining that any plain news will not do. The media will need to come up with new sides with every story. This may even lead to something else. But the mood the media is setting could backfire. The audience in India is still learning and adapting the television viewing and such cliche news may give the audience an excuse to switch to some other channel.

Hence, i personally feel that the media should definitely consider it’s options of projecting news in more than one or couple of ways to avoid it from being cliche.

TALK SHOW ON NEWS CHANNELS

The trend these days is talk shows on televisions. And certainly talk shows are in Demand. And what makes me say this is the fact that, all the channels run this during the prime time. Name any channel and they have a talk show running in between 8 to 10 pm. Various guests are invited, no need of on field reports, some information is gathered and guests give their opinion on the agenda decided by the news corp. Now, the issue is, where does this leads us to? Is it really the big news, just some conversation between some experts or mere an entertainer? What exactly is a talk show and where does it lead us to? We will try and understand in this post what a talk show is.

There’s no denying that talk show does provide us the inside fact on a particular story. We get to know different perspectives of different guests on a particular issue. But, is that enough? Any talk show generally start with the anchor giving a brief about the story, introducing the guest panel and then starting with the questions related to the issue. Now, recently the shows have become loud. Most of the talk shows have aggressive mode on. Guests are quizzed by the anchor, but what is the outcome?

For example, if we consider the talk shows of Deepak Chaurasiya, India news, we all saw that he was being very aggressive in his approach (talk shows related to Asaram case). Chaurasiya said he was asking the questions of a common man. Many guests targeted Chaurasiya and his channel is asking such questions for TRP only.

For most of the channels, it has become just another show. Since the X channel is doing we too should do that. This is the first attitude. Secondly, most of the shows only focus on getting the byte of the guests, especially if it’s a major political issue. Now, what’s the outcome of this all? Other than providing information it is very less, it is more of an entertainer and we are accepting these shows without any objection. That means the agenda set by the channel is the biggest issue?

Most of the shows finish without any outcome, without any conclusion. We, the audience, seem happy with the content. Is it how the content of the talk shows should be? Give your opinion and put down your comments.

CHASING ASARAM

I, like the media, couldn’t resist myself on writing about Indian religion guru Asaram (now the guru word can be wiped off his name). The whole nation is talking about the Asaram case, where he is alleged to have sexually abused one of his devotee, who is a minor aged 16. Well of course, the credit goes to the Indian media. Even if Asaram wanted to leave everything and run, the media didn’t left ‘bapuji’. The media chased and chased him, till it made all Indians aware that this is the most important issue in the country right now. But is it really? This post will deal with this and other issues on similar lines with respect to Indian media.

First let us take the case of Asaram running away and the media chasing him. The media picked the news and stated showing it 24*7 when the minor girl filed the FIR (first information report) against Asaram. The media understood the gravity of the issue and hence the sequence of ‘catch me if you can’ from Asaram started. Media certainly had a clear agenda behind this. Again, this also happened because media got a back to back story on sexual assaults on women.

First in Mumbai (for more read my last post), second the Asaram case and also the verdict of the criminal, who is a minor in Nirbhaya case, was to be declared. All three cases coming out at a single point certainly grabbed media’s attention and thus the nations, also the influence makers in society played a role. Their speeches were heard carefully and decision were made amongst people (two step flow theory, for details on this please refer my previous posts).

As my concern is with the media portrayal, I also would like to point out some of the angles I derived from this story. I ask you all a very simple question- hasn’t this story suppressed other important stories, which diminished somewhere down the way in media? You all certainly can relate to some of the stories. One is the hike of petrol and diesel prices. Like other time reporting, media didn’t reported that effectively this time on this issue. Asaram issues is important emotionally to all of us, but isn’t the petrol price hike by rupee 2.75 important to us economically?

Well, this certainly depends on the gatekeeping of the media organization to give space to which story more (gatekeeping thory, for more please refer my previous posts). But, the Asaram story is crucial too. It has put the safety of women in question again. The media, very sensationally, has chased the story but I feel they have done right this time. It was required, don’t you think?

Drop your comments and views on this. Also, if you have any questions go ahead and write it down in the comments box, will answer you.

[Note: Do checkout the video, it shows Asaram dancing. Nothing wrong in that though! :)]

MEDIA DOES BRING REVOLUTIONS

I have written about the limitations of Indian media reporting in my previous blogs. But, one thing to notice is that, the media does certainly bring issues into focus or to our attention. The ‘August Kranti’ is considered to be media propelled protest against corruption. The social media too played a role. Hence, the media is capable of reporting and bringing about changes in society. In this particular post, I will be writing about the anti rape campaign or reporting started by the media.

The media brought a very powerful representation of these rape cases after the Delhi gang rape case. The victim, Nirbhaya, was made a symbol and any women who had gone through such victimization was connected with Delhi gang rape and seen (the symbol used can be related to semiotics, a theory by Ferdinand Di Saussure, where Nirbhaya is that lady who has gone through the atrocities). Nirbhaya was not only a name but it brought about a revolution amongst the people of our nation. There where candle light march’s in support of Nirbhaya also on the other side, protest against the parliament and protest against the police. Now, what the media did?

The media certainly didn’t keep quiet. It reported all the facts and kept us updated from second to second about the case. They broadcasted all the major rallies, all the frustrated reactions of the people and also the situation of Nirbhaya. The stories did affect all of us. The media made the nations agenda. All the households in India started talking about Nirbhaya, this was all possible because of the media reporting (Agenda setting theory and framing theory; for details on these theories please refer my previous blog posts). Also, the news of Asharam Bapu being accused of raping one of the girls attending her ashram has added fuel to the fire (will write about this issue in a different post).

Now, the recent sexual abuse was reported in Mumbai. Considered to be one of the safest city for women’s, this accident has certainly raised doubts. The victim sadly was from the media industry, a young 22 year old photojournalist. This time too, the media is doing their work. Now, comparing both the reporting, I had my doubts on the latest reporting. With many other issues going on, Ayodhya issue, Food Security Bill issue (refer my blog for more), 2014 elections, I was certainly curious to know how the media is going to report on this sexual abuse incident. But the media did give a good healthy coverage to this news story. It is still being reported. Also, this incident has evoked some serious discussions in the parliament and hope we will be seeing a stricter law for the criminals of sexual abuse.

So far the reporting has been positive. By positive, I mean the coverage has been balanced with respect to other news reporting. The nation’s roar against the sexual abuse of women’s has once again raised concern on their safety. Media is doing their part in not only reporting the incident but following them up too. In a part by showing the news they are trying to make the news available to everyone and it does have made revolution.

I know you all too have something to say for sure. So put down your views and if you do have any queries related to theories or want to add up anything please go ahead.

DURGA ‘SHAKTI’ OR MEDIA ‘SHAKTI’?

The first week of August 2013 in India saw a heated reporting on the IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal’s suspension. The suspension was ordered by the UP government. Narendra Bhati, SP leader was caught saying, that he will suspend Durga Shakti in a month’s time. And the result was same. I will be discussing about the media’s approach toward this whole story and how theories are used while doing this by media houses.

Well, any news, which puts a state government in question, is bound to get coverage. Same happened in the case of UP government. Media picked up the line where the UP minister made a claim that he will anyhow suspend the lady IAS, which finally he achieved, and the media got a story. Media took a side, biased? It showed the politicians as villains and IAS Durga as the victim. No prior research was done by the media. The news became the most important issue. Hypodermic needle theory or magic bullet theory – the theory says that the news given by media is directly injected like a needle or shot like a bullet in our head. Thus, we see that the media projected this news as the most important ongoing issues of the nation and we accepted it directly.

The approach of media does have an impact on the government. The UP government ran out of answers and in terms of defending they even said that they would expose Durga and her family. The media reported this too and the centre had to come and intervene to stop this ongoing unhealthy war between Durga versus UP government.

Still, as the news progressed, there were stories which showed the both sides of the coin; the politicians versus the bureaucrat’s angle (a report by Economics Times), which puts the activities of IAS officers too in question. So we see that the approach of media was different at the start and later when the news was broken down into pieces. This helps us understand the theory mentioned above.

Also, theory agenda setting comes into play. The media set the agenda and moves around it. For example (hypothetical case), consider that media decides to show the story of Durga from the point of view such that- Narendra Bhati, SP leader’s statement looks legitimate and Durga’s suspension looks valid. This will be decided by media, that how to channelize the information and thus setting their agenda comes into play.

Thus, we can see that there are two angles to this story, from which media decided to pick one. The whole system of producing a content (about which I have written in my previous blogs vigorously) is to be understood clearly. So is it reporting or manufacturing news? Or it started with reporting and ended up being manufactured news? So, leave your comment and let’s discuss and try to understand this in more detail.

TELANGANA REPORTING – MEDIA PRIORITIES

Indians welcomed the news of forming its 29th state, Telangana, on 30th July 2013. The ruling party congress waved the green flag. The agitation to form Telangana was on extreme rise from 2009 and finally the order to make it a new state was approved. The whole move by congress was politically motivated, considering the 2014 elections. Well, to know the results, congress will have to wait for the next year elections. My concern, as always, is regarding the media coverage given to it. Well, I won’t be going into the politics of it in detail. I will just try to bring out the way it was reported by two different setups of broadcast media – Al Jazeera & Indian media.

The contrast between these two videos will make us understand the approach towards a single story by the media houses. I came across a video on youtube of Al Jazeera reporting on the Telangana issue. I was a little surprised to see the way the reporting was done. It was a feature story, where a citizen of the newly named state, Telanaga, was interviewed by the correspondent of Al Jazeera. The story was soft and rather than drifting towards political slant, it was totally directed towards the economical reforms of the new state. The questions raised were, how will the new state prosper? How will the industries grow? How the new government will tackle the old issues of unemployment and growth of the state at a faster economical rate? An example of an iron-ore industry was broadcasted. The questions were very valid and it interested me (the link of the video will be uploaded on this post).

Now, on the contrary I saw, not all but few (more than 12 approx.) videos of the way our Indian media reported the same Telangana issue. And it came to me as no surprise; the political coverage on the issue was very high. No coverage in top 10 videos was other than political news by all the big media houses of India (English & Hindi channels both). A very simple question is, if they (foreign media) can then why not we (Our media)? Of course the style of the journalism differs from channel to channel and nation to nation but framing news in particular windows affects it. For example, regular political coverage of the Telangana reporting made it repetitive. Were there any new packages (new formats, new feature reports, new special interest stories) reported by Indian media? Well, I didn’t saw many; most of the spaces on broadcast channels were covered by political leaders justifying or fighting against the decision of congress (form Telangana). Was it the only important thing about Telangana?

At a point of time, I felt that the people for whom the state was created were left behind the race of coverage. Well, this is one way of looking it. I know that there cannot be a comparison between the way a foreign channel reports and the way our channels do their reporting. The audience is different for both the channel. But my concern is only about proprieties. Are we paying to see the never ending discussion panels? Or story (human interest or economical) which really appeal to us?

Share your thoughts and write down your opine if you have a different thinking on the same.

ARE CELEBRITIES MY PRIORITY?

This topic is debated over and over. And many professionals who understand media in and out have concluded in both directions- in favor of reporting such news and the others against it. Well, the principle of journalism say that celebrity reporting on particular topic comes under yellow journalism when certain limits are crossed. What are those limits? We shall see in this blog and try to understand how media reports it.

I will take the recent reporting of the Khan’s hug, Shahrukh-Salman, at the ‘iftar’ party of the MLA Baba Siddiqui. It created fantastic news. And in no time all the channels were flooded with the images of the khan’s hugging each other. The news was shown in such a fashion that it appeared as if India won a medal in Olympics. Was it necessary to show the news in larger than life space? Or is it us who wants it like the way it is? So the question arises, whether we are ascending in terms of receiving news or descending?

I personally feel that it is pure commercialization. Look at it from the economics point of view, to run the business the media needs content. And the biggest problem which media faces is to get the content to run a channel and fill the space for 24*7. Hence, they give what is catchy and thus keep on repeating it for a couple of hours or even days depending on the gravity of the issue. So, as audience or viewers what is our job? Just to perceive what the media is giving or to put forward our views through social networking sites or any other platform. Well, it all depends on us.

Celebrity news has always created ripples amongst the news channels and us. Whether it be the infamous Rakhi-Mika controversy or the recent patch up of Karan-Arjun (The Khan’s). Who decides what is more important? The issues on which I have addressed about in my previous blogs or the patch up of some two Khan’s who we have never met personally nor they have influenced our lives in any way other than entertaining us, largely. It all depends on that meter which everyone has to measure their own important issues. For some it may be war, for some the economics, for some the politics and for some entertainment. It all depends on our knowledge and how we choose our content (Knowledge gap theory; for details refer to my previous blog).

Media has a very simple role to play here. It plays the content according to everyone’s taste. Hence, maintaining the viewership or the readership in case of TV and newspapers respectively. I have been raising this question from my very first blog; does the media gives us what we want or should it provide us with what we need? Media plays safe by following their own principles- setting agendas, framing news and gatekeeping in terms of selecting the content, which is delivered to us.

Well, such kind of reporting, celebrity oriented, has taken a leap in the past couple of years. Whether it may be the wedding of a star or a birthday occasion or catching the glimpse of a celebrity’s new born baby, all type of reporting has raised questions in the mind of media professionals and ours too sometimes.

So, I ask your opinion on such reporting. Feel free to comment and write down your thoughts about such reporting. You may be pro or anti of such kind of reporting but no problem, this platform is to discuss. So go ahead and drop your comments!

(NOTE: If any of the Khan’s is your favorite, please forge me. I just took them for my explanation, nothing personal).