Friday, April 29, 2011
India Against Corruption
I normally appreciate the editorial quality of Frontline. It was therefore disappointing when I read this afternoon their coverage of the India Against Corruption campaign. The general tone of the editorial content was one of cynicism and reluctance - the campaign was made to appear like an ineluctable, accidental mass phenomenon. The truth of the matter is, the writers betrayed their deep sense of suspicion of the capacity of the masses to think through the insistent use of accusatory statements such as, 'The movement is about the hatred of the people for politicians and the political system.' Such statements have been emanating from political circles too, where the insecurities about public participation of any kind are gargantuan. The people do hate the politicians of this country - they are exhausted beyond reason of their sense of tolerance. The duty of the thinking journalist is to support legitimate mass movements and to give expression to mass demands, not to portray them as elements of a growing anarchy. The tardiness of the political response to public demands is gross, and journalism must not condone such responses, let alone echo them. The idea that governance is a specialized, technical matter has been repeated far too often - democracy, on the other hand, was never meant to be about the rule of law placed in the hands of a few 'specialists', most of whom, incidentally, have no rightful claim to such know-how. Get rid of your fear of the ability of the people to respond to the making of the laws that govern them! It is their right! Get rid of your skepticism about the social media! Get rid of your fear of mass communications! It is time for the generation of journalists who look at social media pejoratively to let go.