Let the public and the corporate bigwigs realise!
Indian media landscape doesn’t spot the place and role of agriculture in India’s development paradigm!
Indian media landscape is highly distorted. Priorities are not clear.
There is an explosion of TV news channels, alright!
Where do the peoples or the country’s development priorities come in?
Whether the news channels do much service or they cater to other objectives can be debated. The TV channels are started by many types of people; entrepreneurs for the sake of service or others from the real estate and also from those businessmen, already established but want to build up lobbies, to get the governments do their bidding or else can be also debated.
The Indian languages channels are very shrill at many times and they cater to a lower denominator audience. There are channels exclusively for entertainment, this is said to be the fastest growing segment and other objectives like propagating religion or pure superstition like astrology etc. All these make for a vibrant TV and entertainment industry.
There are certain hidden issues, the emergence of media monopoly and the media houses are again some shady issues into which we can’t go here.
Even the so-called mainstream TV segment has to survive and we know that even the much admired quality channels as standalone ventures are getting into debts and the monopoly mainstream industry, the capitalist and the monopolist enters this segment by many ways, often very devious ways and means. Money is such a funny thing that it penetrates into any segment and money corrupts! More money means more corruption in more segments!
So, in these media explosion what chance for a socially committed sectors like agriculture, rural development or some other purely intellectual areas like public interest spheres.
The BBC example might be far-fetched or for that matter channels like Al Jazeera or the many new ones that are aired today in India. Even politics and public opinion are not served well and there are lots of biases and fears for the media segment.
Increasingly in India we see the fear factor and so not even the print magazines, some of them very well settled over a century and more. All the print media segments with some exceptions are facing resistence in the market.
So, where do we, Vadamalai Media, stand?
We seem to be nowhere if we see our priorities getting noticed by the readers and also the larger customers like private and public sector corporations.
Our advertisement revenues are facing challenges of resistance for the simple reason; the very PSUs are facing troubles. The private sector industries are also becoming more profit driven and more selfish in the sense that we don’t see society becoming more active in public causes.
We see often editorials and also from speeches from politicians on public platforms that civil society must become active in many areas like education, health, why, even in civic administrations, in keeping the cities clean, the roads safe, the many new issues spring up everyday, the city lakes (as in Bangalore) are getting polluted, even the city air quality is declining, new issues crop up, the very monsoons are leading to foresee natural disasters etc.
So society is not for the winning politicians, even they are now required fill up forms to be submitted to the Election Commission about their criminal antecedents (!), for this has now become a real threat to democratic institutions.
Even the judges don’t submit their assets and liabilities, there are no Lokpal and lokayukta and so the corruption issue is getting out of hands and no one seems to have any clue! The Lokpal is not appointed even after four and half years of Modi regime.
Vadamalai Media is committed to agriculture and rural development, perhaps the least priority issue, right?
Then why the government publicity policies, the very same publicities don’t reach us?
Even at the grassroots level, at the very lower ties block development agencies, there are any number of farmer-related policies like disbursing subsidies. But we don’t hear them! WE have to go there and wait for seeing the lowest level agri officials there are latest policies. Don’t you think it is the duty of the district Collector or their higherups, why even the ministers to seek for media outlets and propagate their policies.
We have written volumes on the need to link the agri universities to publicise their researches. No responses. The universities are now many but the statistics about the R&D in agriculture might frighten you. So little pittance!
Also, the agri universities admissions and other approaches are biased towards urban, educated middle classes, not the real farmers’s families. The agri universities management committees are filled with party cadres not one rep from the agri media or even the local TV channels.
We need really public spirited corporations to use their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) funds to promote public opinion, to educated public opinion and sensitise the public spirit to realise that agriculture is the very soul of India. The Tatas, their Trusts are said to promote tribal farmers. Fine. But please realise, let us realise that cultivating public opinion about the high priority of agri sector on which the Indian economy’s backbone is built should be propagated.