On Saturday, the INC media in-charge, Randeep Surjewala released a booklet about the hardships faced by the poor and vulnerable sections of the society due to demonetization in a press conference.
However, instead of publishing this news, which pertains to arguably the most controversial economic policy in Indian history, the media was agog with rumours of Rahul Gandhi’s New Year plans. An impression was created that he is on a holiday, albeit INC sources clarified that he was not on a holiday and he would be returning on the 4th of January.
The media however continued their narrative ad nauseam, completely ignoring the questions Rahul Gandhi had posed to the government. While the PM himself has been absent in the parliament, Rahul Gandhi attended it even skipping the pre-funeral ceremony of the former president of Cuba, Fidel Castro.
The media also ignores the fact that Rahul Gandhi has been actively taking part in party meetings, addressing press conferences, and holding back to back rallies in election bound states. In his latest press conference Rahul Gandhi posed five cardinal questions to the Prime Minister and raised five demands from the govt for the people who suffered during the fifty day period of demonetization (even as a cap on withdrawal limit continues beyond fifty days).
Ignoring the grave situation, the media, seems more interested in where Rahul Gandhi is going rather than reporting whether the Modi government has answered the questions asked. Media is hardly concerned about the measures (or the lack of) the government is taking to address the hardships caused due to demonetization, which Rahul Gandhi has raised. With a subservient media, the Modi government has been emboldened to brazen out any questions the suffering masses as, via the opposition.
Journalists seem to opine that Rahul Gandhi’s mode of transport is more important than discussing the merits and demerits of the demonetization policy that has crippled the economy. Not a single channel is concerned about how much black money has been unearthed or how many people lost their lives and livelihoods. Even the RBI has not released the latest data pertaining to the demonetized notes and none in the media seem to want to question the powers that be.
Those in the media should not eye everything through the prism of TRP ratings. Politics is about one individual or gaudy optics. The media appears more worried about how the congress party will function, than even the congress leaders! It is amusing that they of the opinion that Rahul Gandhi has left everything in vacuum and suddenly decided to go to abroad. They present such non-issues under screaming headlines to divert attention from the disaster that demonetization has been. And continues to be.
The media is busy eulogizing Narendra Modi and his work ethic rather than comparing how when Rahul Gandhi was listening to the poor standing in serpentine queues, PM Modi was passing mocking comments at the suffering masses, during his tour to Japan. Why are comparisons made between Rahul Gandhi requesting INC volunteers to help people at ATMs and banks while PM Modi was changing 4 Suits a day?
The media almost blacked out the press conference of the former finance minister, P Chidambaram on the 30th of December in which he explained how demonetization has jeopardized India’s growth
Journalists should be cognizant of the pivotal role they play in strengthening democracy rather than becoming obsessed with the personal life of Rahul Gandhi. They should have responded to the speech delivered by PM Modi in which he hasn’t made clear what the objective of the demonetization was and if the objective has been achieved.
While the independence of journalists is sacrosanct, one must also recall the quote of Malcolm X:
“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
This article is written by Yash Gupta. CA Student. @yashgupta1202