Tag Archives: Irfan Ahmad

Democracy as Permanent Advertising – Indian Media and Elections : Irfan Ahmad

Guest post by IRFAN AHMAD

It was nothing short of a scandal. On 12 April, India TV, a Hindi channel, telecast 117-minute interview of the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi. Conducted by Rajat Sharma, it became, or was made, a mega hit. Tow days later, news director of Indian TV, Qamar Waheed Naqvi, resigned from his position alleging that the interview was ‘fixed’. Though Naqvi’s resignation was silenced in media, the fixed interview represents the dark and mutually constitutive relationships between media and politics.

Based on the analyses of select elections coverage by five television channels – India TV, NDTV, Aaj Tak, ANI, and IBN– I argue that:

  • The way journalists pose questions to their favorite politicians are often already answers;
  • In pursuing a storyline, journalists subordinate, even sacrifice, actual responses or events/facts to bolster their pre-determined narrative; and
  • Electoral polity like India is heading towards a designer democracy marked by permanent campaigning-cum-advertising.

In short, I caution against the use of widespread phrase: ‘media and politics’. It is more fitting to say: ‘media as politics’ or ‘politics as media’.

Share of prime time coverage, Image courtesy The Hindu
Share of prime time coverage, Image courtesy The Hindu

Modi’s ‘Fixed’ Interview: India TV Continue reading Democracy as Permanent Advertising – Indian Media and Elections : Irfan Ahmad