I received few comments on my earlier posts that raised a pertinent question of why BJP’s media management is so poor and why it failed to counter the pro-Congress media by promoting any pro-BJP media channels.
Though I do not have any specific answer to this, I think it originates from the culture during Indira Gnadhi’s rule when, as it happened to all democratic institutions, the media in general (barring few brave media personalities) was a tool of Govt. and it used to crawl the way its masters wanted it to. Without much support from media Vajpayee,Advani etc. had to entirely rely on grass roots politics . Hence, culture-wise Congress mastered the art of media management where as BJP put more trust on street politics.
There may be many other reasons why our media is so biased like ideological / political/ economical/ emotional/ structural issues. I doubt if there is any other democracy in the world where the media serves a dynasty with such a zeal as the indian media.
The matter of the fact is that media hates Modi to the core and expecting this to change is as naive as expecting Sun TV disclosing the real assets of Karuna family .
However, what I find interesting is how Modi has used the technology and internet to reach the people directly instead of being at media’s mercy. Be it youtube,blog,twitter,facebook or the highly professional narendramodi.in,vibrant gujarat sites, he is everywhere telling people about the development happening in Gujarat. He must be one of the most tech-savvy politicians in the world.
This strategy by Narendra Modi has ,to some extent, countered the perception created by media on Modi. I am a living example of this. From a big Modi-baiter , I have converted to a huge huge fan of him after I started discovering about him in web world. In future, the internet is going to be a more powerful weapon than the conventional media and Modi is certainly going to lead the way.
Having said that, the power of visual media is nonetheless to be under-estimated.Especially visual Media has the advantage of creating an effective negative perception among people by sensationalizing manufactured news, be it Shohrabudin or Tehelka stings. Media attempts to create an aversion for Modi among the middle class and minorities of the country by projecting a wrong image of him and to a large extent media has been successful in its attempt till now.
It is,hence, important for Modi and BJP to make more friends in the mainstream media who at least stay unbiased to him. There are few media personalities who have started speaking openly about Narendra Modi’s leadership. However, it is a mammoth task to break the powerful nexus of Congress and media.
A recent example of this is the leak of SIT report to Tehelka and Hindustan Times (whose political bias is well known) and the subsequent joining of other media channels in announcing Modi guilty. There is a serious issue here of institutional sanity when a sealed report to Supreme court gets leaked and the verdict is announced to public by media before it reaches the judge. It’s time the supreme court keeps a check on this malice where a parallel media trail is staged to influence our legal and social system.
The truth is the only thing that can stop Modi reaching Delhi is the media. Media and Congress know this well and they are going to put all their energy into keeping him away from Delhi. The closer we will be to 2014 we will see more of this happening against Modi. Diggy will supply the raw material and media will manufacture the news.
The challenge for Modi will be to defeat these forces the same way he has done it in Gujarat. I believe BJP, instead of being defensive, should trust in Modi’s leadership and take this challenge head-on intelligently,strategically and aggressively.