May , 2018
“Don’t provide ‘masala’ to media”
14:24 pm

Buroshiva Dasgupta

The Prime Minister finally warns his political colleagues not to provide ‘masala’ for the media. This is a confession long awaited. The Prime Minister has been avoiding talking to the press ever since he came to power. Only at times he had spoken to a select few, when he thought he needed to, and that too, with only those he was comfortable with.

The Prime Minister is wise enough to avoid the media, probably because his experience with the media during his chief ministership of Gujarat has not been cordial. The BJP government at the centre (specially the PMO) has invented its own way of expressing itself. Programmes like “maan ki baat” and the personal tweets of the PM and the major ministers speak about the activities of the government. This way, the occasional press conferences of the PM and the ministers to elaborate on the ‘good deeds’ of the government (which happened during the previous governments) can be avoided. Thanks to the social media, people are well aware of the propaganda and the reality.

Usually it is difficult for the politicians to restrain themselves from the media glare. And that is precisely what the PM has asked his political colleagues to do. “At times our workers talk a lot about the media doing this, media doing that. But have we thought that we end up giving masala to the media with our mistakes? As if we are some social scientists or scholars who can analyse every problem. The moment we see a cameraperson we rush to make a statement. The media will use the part which it finds useful. It is not its fault. We will have to restrain ourselves.” Media is doing its job. “Don’t blame the media. It is doing its job. It’s our job to not get entangled in everything and guide the nation on every issue by standing in front of the TV. Those with the responsibility of speaking on the issue will do it,” he said.

It is not its fault”. Is there a turnaround in attitude? Blaming the media is an easy way out for the politicians. In recent times, politicians have come down heavily on the media. We have seen how ministers have even thrust descriptions like “pressitutes” on the media. But to admit that ‘we can also be at fault’ is a difficult task for politicians. It is difficult to change habits, and the prime minister’s advice cannot come in a better time.

 There is nothing wrong talking about India’s ancient traditions. The Prime Minister himself often does it. Leonardo da Vinci drew the first aeroplane. But no one sane would say that the aeroplane existed 600 years ago. But some of us do, when we talk of ‘pushpak rath’. However imagination is not reality. Sanjay in Mahabharata may have told Dhritarashtra, through his imaginative eye, the story of the Kurukheshtra war. But that does not mean the internet and social media existed then.

Politicians often tend to mix fact with fiction. Unfortunately, media today can also be blamed for the same mistake. If politicians are doing self-analysis, let the media too be part of the same exercise.

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