“If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed.” ~ Mark Twain
It was upsetting. As I went through the cover story of this issue, I was once again reminded of the fact that most of the information I am consuming directly or indirectly is being ‘manufactured’ for a purpose, has a focused agenda, and sometimes is sheer propaganda. It would have been okay had this been a case of advertisements, but it’s not. Most national and international news, famous people’s gossip and scandals, satire and all those tall tales are actually being filtered, altered, cropped, chopped and fried, and are being served to us as part of an agreement with some business conglomerate or a political outfit. These powerful outfits either own or fund the supposedly independent, courageous, free and truthful media houses. Interestingly, some of these media houses have been floated solely for the purpose of political agenda. So, when you see one famous news anchor praising a political move of the prime minister, his counterpart on another channel can be heard criticising the same.
Sadly, while the learned, thinking individuals can read between the lines, they aren’t the majority. Common Indians, busy in their everyday routines and focused on their daily bread, do not have the space to think, filter, analyse and interpret things differently than what is presented to them on TV or newspapers. They believe in the broadcasted words and printed letters.
Who’s at fault? What’s the root cause of this unethical drift of our celebrated media? Why media is opinionated? We all can take a good guess at the answers. It’s primarily about the money and the power, and the power and the money, and everything in-between.
So, is this the end of the story? I asked myself. That’s when I realised that I am myself a part of this media fraternity and so are a few friends and my colleagues, and as much as I can vouch for myself, I can for them as well and say none of them have ‘sold’ their ‘integrity’. Moreover, I am writing this piece in a magazine that reaches lakhs of conscious consumers across India, and it is doing so without being funded, supported, owned, or influenced by any business house or political party. This magazine is not even obliged to any company for it doesn’t take ads. And it’s not just Consumer Voice – dozens of other such independent mediums are making sure that the truth is not getting buried. Also, thanks to the new-age social mediums (Mark Twain would have been glad to see them at work), each one of you now have the power to say it all—and say it aloud in public. And if you go viral, then even the big, mean media magnates cannot ignore what you say. If you go super viral, you yourself become media. Hence, there’s always a beautiful silver lining.