Public Perception vs. Public Opinion!
What all these have to do with us, India and the Indian public opinion?
You see, there are certain developments, short and long term that we don’t perceive in our day to day preoccupations! A day’s news by whatever means we read, through the twitter or other social media outlets, as this trend is growing widely ,through the younger generation as ‘users’, not as the traditional readers, is driven widely by sort of trending as they say.
Print media is now terribly old fashioned, it seems. The readership of the print media is declining in the West, why even now in India. The online media, the use of the Internet based mobile media in particular is terribly fast growing and grips the attention of one and all, young and old, urban and rural users.
TV news channels are almost exploding, with some 900 odd ones and we don’t know how this TV news would evolve. As it is, the TV news channels are also owned and operated, taken over and also transformed into propaganda weapons in the emerging economic and political transformation.
But what it has to do with our own domain: the rural and agri sector?
Does a narrow segment like the rural and agri sector has any place, any space?
A question worth asking and also finding an answer!
We all seem to be rushing and rushing all the time! Towards what? That is not a question asked by anybody, high and low, arrogant and assertive?
Just now there is a new book before us: A Feast of Vultures by Josy Joseph (Penguin).We ask our readers o read this timely book to know where the new India is going.
Here are some thoughts. We know the role of media is shaping public opinion. But things are changing so fast that we are likely to be distorted by the very same media, both old and the new, public opinion is both shaped and articulated by a responsible media. But is the media sector or industry, as it is evolving, evolving with any self-discipline or self restraint?
We are afraid it is not! See the TV channel owners of these days. It is said by veteran observers that real estate owners and other sort of adventurers are entering into this sector. The most dangerous developments are also here.
India’s top industrialists are buying over the online (TV) media for the heck of warning and rendering unemployed even the most gifted of the TV anchors.
In one day, this happened and there was none to raise any voice!
There is a ministry of Information and Broadcasting, now luckily headed by a senior leader and let us hope there is now a new awakening to turn Indian media scene into one of healthy and positive and liberalising force. And thereby, let us hope, we give the Indian people a truly free media environment, a new sense of resurgent freedom of expression, freedom of opinion and thereby a truly liberated Indian society and people.
In the new book referred to above I find that how the old India of the pre-liberalisation era is now replaced by a new era where new generation of a new political class as well as the new class of businessmen who don’t give a thought to twist and turn the policies, however, correctly or through some hunch crafted to some ends and yet they end up as serving just the opposite?
Damn the common man, the poor and the under privileged. They are not the concern of our new rulers but it is only grabbing power, feeding your greed and succeeding. The ultimate symbols of success or call it by whatever names you c fancy, the Mukesh Ambani’s new opulent home Auntilia!
For every Ambani there are many new ones, the same ambition, the same drive and also the same environment to breed and catalyse! Where is democracy going? Anyone asks? Where is the new economy marching anyone cares to question?
Democracy? Oh, what is promised since the ages? What we are delivered now?
Serious questions! But there are answers, don’t panic!
Democracy must reach out to the common man? Where is he? He or she is in the remote limits. The most ignored and silenced thereby.
Freedoms for all! That is democracy. There are a thousand obstacles and yet thousand possibilities. Luckily, there a Constitution that ensures our rights and obligations. But we have to articulate the public perception. Basic moralities are the gift of gods. So, we can be sure that the public perception would judge the rulers, the wrong doers and also the rightful ones.
That is what is the purpose of the media values, as we see it.
Public perception had always played a role in history. That is what had made revolutions inevitable. Even today, we have to live carefully. Otherwise there is danger to our polity and peaceful lives. Right and Wrong! Good and Bad! Public perception is all about this only!
Public opinion? That is the job of the media. There are many perspectives here. One can choose one’s priorities.
Climate change? Environment? Rural development or rural depredation? Urbanisation or smart cities?
Who can articulate, who can communicate?
This is the burden of the media, be it old or the new. There are so many negative features: in Chhattisgarhi, Raigarh, Jindals, Vedanta and other natural resources guzzling new industries are causing a great deal of wrongs. 5 lakh death in 2013, half in India and China from air pollution. Coal alone a great cause of this pollution. Statistics are too many.
Only hard working, dedicated few individuals, journalists, media men and women can brave the many hostilities and expose what cause so much misery for the mass of people.
That is high media! It is for us to choose! Goodbye!