Democracy is a dangerous idea. Well, famous words as you will see a bit later. Four twitter accounts, of the 28 recommended for blockade, got notices from the GOI to present their cases or defence against the charge of ‘spreading hate’ or inciting communal tensions. That’s a news report. Nobody is really clear what the charge is though. When Ambika Soni, I&B Minister, says the govt is not indulging in or encouraging censorship it’s a bit hard to believe. It was easy to handle the MSM so far but the Social Media (SM) has become a thorn in the govt’s flesh. This is the rise of ordinary people which must be crushed at any cost.
Corruption and dictatorial regimes cannot flourish unless they destroy the press or co-opt them in their scheme of operations. Over the years the Congress and its Communist allies managed to co-opt much of the MSM to the system but are struggling for clues on how to deal with this menace called SM. The internet and SM somehow seem beyond their control unlike media houses. It keeps exposing their misdeeds that the MSM doesn’t and govt doesn’t even know which Twitter accounts can be co-opted with a coal block. Seriously, if Kanchan Gupta or Shiv Aroor could be co-opted, they would probably be operating a coal mine or running a steel plant as a luxurious hobby. I don’t follow either of them but from various reports and RTs haven’t found anything objectionable in their statements. Would be true for other journalists and social media accounts critical of this govt. (Everyone on SM should hone their coal-mining skills, just in case!) So you have media houses like the Lokmat group or the Dainik Bhaskar group operating coal blocks. Perhaps even more! And what’s their experience in coal? Umm… I guess many in the media are comfortable with ‘black’ deeds.
Day after day, night after night the MSM brings on TV those accused of corruption to defend themselves and explain the charges. Far from doing that what we get is flinging mindless allegations against others by them. Any decent moderator of a debate would have said “Stop! Don’t fling allegations but explain the charges against you”. A minister’s guards thrash a traffic cop in Srinagar. Justice Arnab calls the minister to defend himself in a debate. Does this pathetic incident really need a debate? What deserves plain condemnation and a demand for sacking of the minister is being “debated” on TV. And the minister denies seeing the incident and explains he was about 30ft away from the scene and so on. This is the mindless nonsense that is delivered in a news channel. And if the worst happens the govt will set up a committee. Make sure you leave notes for your great grandchildren to check up on the report of that committee. You may not be around.
R. Jagannathan (TheJaggi), editor of Firstpost, in an article titled “Rise of crony journalism and tainted money in media” writes about the media-politico nexus and explains this dangerous association. He exposes the mafia pretty neatly. At the end of his article he runs a disclaimer: “Firstpost is owned by media house Network18 that has presence across print, television and new media”. Er.. he forgot something. The right disclaimer should have included the name “Reliance”. Now, that would make a big difference to the disclosure. Wouldn’t it? That is not to fault TheJaggi, he does a great job with his writings. The point is that while we generally scream and shout about how great our democracy is or how free and independent our people are we usually miss some tricks. We have been fooled repeatedly into believing that our MSM stands for democracy, free speech blah blah. By TheJaggi’s account they hardly want any of that. They’re happy being cronies of the govt, making money and keeping that system going. What they want and practice could be called “the convenient democracy”.
You see, no matter how much they scream about it, govts and corporations usually don’t like the idea of democracy; at least not for all. It's a very irritating and inconvenient hurdle. So when a good part of the news media becomes a crony, corporations dictate the policies and politicians indulge in massive loot of the nation it leaves the ordinary people nowhere. And they’ll keep telling you; voting is a sacred responsibility. Take Ramalinga Raju. Do you seriously believe the guy could have swindled 7000 crores all on his own? Do you think Jagan Reddy, son of YSR, raised an empire of over 40000 crores just like that? And he owns a media circus too. Far from representing the people and creating systems that work for them a corrupt govt attempts to “manage” people and fit them into the system they want to create for themselves. This is not possible unless a huge part of the media is corrupted and bought to support this grand plan. And it’s working.
Considering the term ‘socialist’ was framed into our constitution let’s hear another socialist. Tony Benn, former British MP for over 50 years is one such socialist. In his own words, he retired from parliament to spend more time on politics. He championed the poor and the coal miners. He has been awarded many Oscars by the miners. Their Mining Lamp is the Oscar equivalent for them and Tony Benn has been awarded many of those. This edited video is of an extended interview by documentary film maker Michael Moore with him during the making of ‘Sicko’. Transcripts of a few key statements Benn makes are given below the video. Watch (1:57 minutes):
....The task of representation is to change the system to meet the needs of the people. But with the power of global capital now, instead of being represented, people are being ‘managed’. People are being changed to fit them into the system instead of the systems being changed to meet people’s needs. And that’s a huge transformation.... The world is now run not by the American President or the British Prime Minister... The IMF, the WTO, the MNCs… they have far greater power than political leaders. And people sense this. And they become cynical... turnout and voting is low. But actually this is an attempt to reverse the power of the vote. If the power is taken away from you and handed over to corporations or international organisations...they're are not elected then you realise you have lost something of fundamental importance. I think democracy is a very very radical idea. It’s not accepted by the Communists, Stalin didn't accept it... I don’t think the Capitalists like it because it takes power from them and gives it to the people who haven’t got money. And that is a very dangerous idea indeed.
Yes indeed, democracy is a dangerous idea for the corrupt and crony capitalists. A professor can be arrested for criticising a CM as can be a farmer. Imaginary ‘hate speech’ cases will be filed against prominent critics of govt. IT rules will be framed in a manner which allows an accused no defence or hearing. Pages on the web can be taken down merely on suspicion and allegation. A cartoonist can be arrested for “sedition” for abusing national symbols. Oh! Think about it, the ones who abuse national symbols in posters are the ones who love democracy. The pic misusing the three lions is worse because it looks like a political campaign poster and is a real offence. The union of media crooks conspires to cover up and hide the truth. It was easy to manage the MSM with threats, ad doles, investment by corporate giants, flashy awards and so on. It’s when the power of free speech passes on to ordinary people that creates a nuisance for the corrupt and that’s what makes democracy a dangerous idea for them.