By Goutam Shankar Das So, by the time you get to read this piece of print, you would have wished and been wished a billion ‘Happy New Year’ slogans or whatever you call them. Like all other preceding years, 2019 too passed into history with many golden moments and dark patches to gloat over in […]
Make no mistakes! Arvind Kejriwal, or for that matter anyone, has every right to criticize media. Even to say that a part of the media is pushing paid news or that it is pursuing the agenda of pushing a party or a politician. He even has all the rights to trash media in every which way. After all, he is a free citizen of a free and democratic country, no matter how much critical he is of its institutions and processes.
However, Arvind Kerjriwal, or for that matter anyone, has got absolutely no right to threaten media. His latest rant against media and mediapersons has ominous tone to it. Mainly because it shows a fascist mindset lurking within a person and a tendency which has the potential to have a cascading impact.
It is ironical that Arvind Kejriwal, who has been branded as a product of too much media-hype by his critics all these days, has turned to lambasting his own creator. Till the time his antics were being covered by TV channels 24×7, everything was hunky dory for him. But the moment the media started ignoring his antics, he started seeing motives.
There is no disputing the fact that a section of the media and mediapersons is not very honest or professional and that money does play a role in deciding which way the media will tilt.
But, this is also true for any profession or institution. It is true for the executive, legislature and judiciary too. This does not mean that anyone should immediately junk the entire institution on the grounds that it is not working in the expected manner.
Ideally, systemic faults should be corrected only through systemic changes and systemic course correction. Not through extra-institutional interference. And the last time we heard, Arvind Kejriwal does seem to believe in democratic institutions.
He is also informed enough and knows that he has the freedom to take recourse to different alternatives to take on the media if he feels he has been wronged. If a publication has run a false story, he can sue that publication. If a TV channel has put out wrong facts, he can move the court. But, sorry, he has got no right to ask the publication to continue doing a cover story on him or to continue to show his face.
Mr. Kejriwal has been fond of posing questions to others. He has also been fond of trashing everyone and everything. However, he has been very intolerant of any criticism targeted at him or his party. This does not show a spirit of democracy. While, he has the right to criticize anyone or anything, including media, others too have the same rights. Imputing motives, when others disagree with him, is not a very good understanding of how a democracy works. Mr. Kejriwal would do well if he focuses on his positive agenda and proves himself by doing what he says and desists from a-controversy-a-day strategy that till now he has been following with much elan.
The media in this country has always been like this. It was like this when the media was eulogizing him 24×7. And it is the same when it has started examining his every step. The problem is that Mr. Kejriwal has been relying too much on media coverage and very little on doing the right things. He wants to be a Gandhi, but without doing anything that Gandhi did. It is only apt that the hollowness would get exposed.
Media in this country does need some course correction. But, the desired course is not what Mr. Kejriwal would like it to be. Mr. Kejriwal has made maximum use of media’s fallacies in the past. Now is the time he should bear the brunt for his lack of foresightedness.
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