Ranjona Banerji: Curses UnLtd on Social Media

11 Apr,2014

By Ranjona Banerji

 

If there is one argument that has got really boring, it is the squabble amongst journalists about who is fair and objective and who is not. Frankly, everyone has a political perspective or leaning. And every columnist has a point of view. I can understand the general social media-empowered public throwing curses at every columnist who does not agree with him or her. But journalists should know better.

 

The social media has become a hilarious space for journalists to throw accusations others. None however see the irony in the fact that they display their own preferences while they accuse others of prejudice. Even worse, the jejune arguments used by party worshippers are now being used by journalists as well. Grow up, guys. And if all you want is a column with your mugshot next to it, then please hone your arguments. From what I read right now, Facebook posts are as far as most deserve!

 

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The third phase of polling saw big voter turnouts and big play on TV all day. But by the evening, Samajwadi chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s comments which appeared to justify on rape dominated the news space – hardly surprisingly. Some primetime discussions also centred around the issue and on Times Now, Arnab Goswami got a chance to bellow about a subject he seems genuinely concerned about. I also saw the former BJP TV spokesperson and now Lok Sabha candidate Meenakshi Lekhi back on Times Now myself – evidently, she has been forgiven for saying that he took money.

 

Mid-Day has done a spine-chilling interview with Abu Asim Azmi, Mumbai’s Samajwadi chief  where he has made his own deplorable comments about women and rape. http://www.mid-day.com/articles/shocking-women-having-sex-should-be-hanged-says-abu-azmi/15222050

 

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Prime ministerial hopeful Narendra Modi’s sudden disclosure that he has a wife also collected a chunk of news time and space. Everybody already knew that he had a wife but his admission on his nomination form is a first. Political opponents have made the most of it – especially since he did not admit to this wife in all previous elections. As The Indian Express points out, the disclosure came only after the Supreme Court insisted that candidates fill in their forms without omissions.

 

Only The Times of India, as far as I could tell, mentioned an allegation from the Congress that Modi said he “did not know” his PAN card and any financial details. This I find more intriguing than his long-known-about wife. Surely, in these days of corruption chatter, we need to know more about the financial condition of this PM nominee?

 

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In their news sections, just about every newspaper saw a spurt of support for the BJP or electoral calculations favouring them. This perhaps either means that all newspapers are now BJP agents or not or are just reflecting what they have seen on the ground? It somehow puts paid to the blanket argument one way or another.

 

However, edit pages understandably give you analysis and comment and that can wander in any direction. Avijit Ghosh in The Times of India talks about how this much-touted “Modi wave” thins out as you move into the hinterland of Uttar Pradesh: http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Addictions/entry/whither_the_great_wave _the_modi_effect_fades_as_one_steers_off_highways_and_drives_deeper_into_up_s_hinterland

 

Senior journalist Bharat Bhushan also did see a Modi wave in this opinion piece for Business Standard: http://www.business-standard.com/article/ opinion/bharat-bhushan-modi-is-unsure-if-the-surf-s-up-114040901248_1.html#.U0Z3_wpF1a8.twitter

 

Anil Dharker in the Hindustan Times points to the UPA’s many deficiencies, communication being at the top of the list: http://www.hindustantimes.com/comment/analysis/ inability-to-communicate/article1-1206714.aspx

 

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Then there’s the plane. The media is very hopeful of its being found.

 

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One response to “Ranjona Banerji: Curses UnLtd on Social Media”

  1. Guest says:

    Each one of us is entitled to an opinion, certainly about politics, one of India’s few recession proof industries, so journalists can hardly be an exception. But there are some, many, in fact, who sound like cheer leaders. What is a journalist without independence, intellectual rigour, scepticism towards all forms of institutional power ?

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