And Reinforced Building
By Amit Chamaria
30 December, 2006
It is obvious truth that reinforced
building is made up by the proper combination of mainly, bricks, cement,
sand, small stones and iron rods. In fact these are the essential elements
without which the existence of the reinforced building is only an imagination.
Similar situation is with
the word 'Democracy'. Like reinforced buildings, there are mainly three
constituents of Democracy that is legislature, executive, and judiciary
and essentially, media is considered as the fourth pillar of democracy.
For the healthy democracy, purity with in the constituent elements is
essential. " Only pure things can make pure products."
A very common definition
of Democracy advocated by Abraham Lincoln is-"Democracy is of the
people, for the people and by the people." Not especially for only
India but for the whole world where the Democracy exists, it includes
the proper representation of the all the people where people are divided
among various castes, classes, religions and ethnic groups. Without
proper representation in the constituents they can't function properly.
In fact the constituents of the Democracy can formed a pure and healthy
democracy only if the constituents have been formed in it selves in
a democratic way.
Media is the mirror of the
society. In fact it provides the direction where democratic constituents
imbalances. But if the media in itself is not arranged in a democratic
way, how can it gives the messages about democracy.
Ironically, the most prominent
exponent of democracy is media but a recent survey report about the
dominance of the upper castes in media highlighted by a group of journalists
named as Mr. Yogendra Yadav, Mr. Anil Chamadia, and Jitendra Kumar is
sufficient to understand that how far media is democratic. In this short
survey, the social background of 315 key decision makers of the 37 Delhi
based (Hindi and English) publications and Television channels have
been underlined. They are predominantly Hindu upper caste and male.
Almost 90% of decision- makers in the English language print media and
79% in television are of the upper caste, although the upper castes
are about 16% of the country population; Brahmin alone constitute 49%
of this segment, and 71% of the total are upper caste men. Not one of
the 315 is a Dalit or an Adivasi. Only 4% are OBC, 3% are Muslims (13.4%
of the country's population). Christians do better (4%) as a proportion
of their population (2.3%). Women are vastly under represented, 17%
of the total, although they do better (32%) in the English language
electronic media. However this survey report is pithy.
However, having lack of
social diversity per se, the messages given by the media about the social
diversity for various milieu of the society are worthless. More often
political party rhetoric, electoral agenda have been criticized by the
media for using caste and religious affiliations and alliances as parameters
.The English language media is critical of this trend in politics, in
its view, reduced the citizenry top the 'vote bank'. But also the media
does favour the certain section of individuals both at the time of recruitment
and reporting. The recent reporting during the Reservation controversies
is a burning example to show that how far media goes to take favour
the certain section of individuals during the coverage of the story
and news of a particular incident. During this period media has covered
only one-sided story.
In this scenario, an eminent sociologist T.B. Bottomore argues that
a truly democratic national government will only be possible when all
the major institutions of society operates on democratic principles.
Very often media suggests about the modern policies and programmes for
India to becoming a Developed State." Even media in it self is
still away from modernity. Modernity can't be achieved only by modern
infrastructures. Most of the media organizations, particularly English
news paper and channels take all the tips that is useful only for businesses
purpose from the U.S.A. but they always forget that American Media do
something else which is
very close to rationality and modernity. It is true that, according
to N. Ram American society of Newspaper Editors has been starting a
diversity programme since 1978 and it has tried to cover up all the
communities in proportionate way so that the role of media could do
their function properly in the democratic way. America has 33% minority
of the total population. Owing to the diversity programme since 1978
American media has got some success to achieve the target, as a result,
presently, The New York times has 19% minority, The Washington Post
has 23%, The wall Street Journal 17.7% and The Los angels times has
18.6%. Minority. But it is very shameful that barring this diversity
programme, the Indian media has tried to adopt most of the programmes
and policies of the American media.
It is obvious that social
order can be established in the society if and only if the proper coordination
among the various constituents exists and in addition to this proper
coordination can be established if the constituents are arranged on
the basis of democratic and rational principle. So media firstly should
adopt the democratic and modern notions. Other wise the faith of the
individuals on media will be debilitated.
Amit Chamaria is a freelance journalist and can be reached at amitchamaria@
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