Watchdogs of Another Kind?

Media is presented as a ‘watchdog of democracy’ in today’s times.

But it was really shocking to see a story on IBN 7 ( Friday, 3 rd Nov 2006 around 3-4 p.m.) which rather communicated that in today’s Corporatized times it is metamorphosing into ‘Watchdog against Democracy’. It is time that friends also know about the manner in which media is appealing (instigating would be a better word) to the powers that be that ‘too much’ democracy will be a disaster.

Punjab as everybody knows has a rich tradition of cultural festivals/ gatherings where people/groups from all over the state come together and hold day long/ nightlong programmes where dramas are staged, action songs are staged, book exhibition is organised etc. Anyone who has attended these programmes can come back replenished with energy. One such cultural festival is held in memory of the Ghadarite martyrs which is called ‘Gadari baba ka Mela’.

I do not remember exactly how it was framed but the IBN story did focus on the recently held festival in memory of these martyrs only. Interestingly, the aim of the story was not to give details of the Mela or the rich tradition which is still alive in Punjab but rather to caution the government about the literature/CDs being sold. It also interviewed one of the activists who was managing the stall. Thereafter, the unbelieving presenter proceeded to ask ” How can one allow public distribution of such literature/CDs which help arouse the masses against the state”. There was even a small byte with the local SSP also where the presenter/reporter asked him “How can you allow such things to happen in your vicinity”. The hardened Policeman was cool enough and just said we will enquire.

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