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Service or dis-service

What has been the role of media in the recent elections?  In line with the evolution in communications, the

electronics media has played a large role. The social media was not active in the 2009 elections.  This time tech savvy Narendra Modi made remarkable use of this medium.

In recent years the news television medium also gained in prominence. The BJP made good use of this medium at the national and the regional level. There was effective promotion of Modi in the regional languages reaching  millions through cable TV.

However, the competitive urge to improve TRS had led to a rather unsavory developments. TV anchors like Arnab Goswami of Times Now and Rajdeep Sardesai of CNN IBN have been presenting commentators from different parties and ideologies. Unfortunately, the aggressive participants often indulge in a shouting slang; generating more heat than light.  Several of the participants use language that are indecent.

In a post election programme Sardesai presented Congress’ Mani Shankar Aiyar and AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi. Even in the best of times, Aiyar is not known for maintaining decorum. Now devastated by the defeat of his party and of himself with such low votes polled (58278) he manifested his disappointment and anger calling Modi Hitler. Owaisi was no less acerbic venting his familiar religious prejudice. There was a total absence of grace in conceding defeat and wishing the victor. After all, in a democracy the people’s mandate is supreme.

Mass media would do well to make its contribution in maintaining communal harmony. The new leadership should be given time to tackle the myriad problems faced by country. In his interviews Modi has been repeatedly re-assuring that he would endeavor to represent the interests of the entire country and that he will respect the views of every MP. Opposition and media should give the new government time to come to grip with administration.

Can television houses keep the usual suspects away for a while and make its contribution to healthy, harmonious relations?

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