When there is virtually no effective opposition in parliament it becomes all the more incumbent for the media to play the role of a constructive critic. How is the Indian media acquitting itself? Sections of the media have been tearing into the chit fund scams of West Bengal and Odisha and hauling Miss Mamata Banerjee and Mr. Navin Patnaik over the coals. That is all very well. Opposition leaders deserve no mercy for their questionable roles. But what about the government and the ruling party? Do they not deserve equal treatment? That unfortunately is conspicuously lacking. This renders Indian media into a one-sided sycophant of the government and bereft of any meaningful role as critic.
Even as the source of Mr. Mulayam Singh’s splurge of funds for his birthday bash was rightly questioned by the media why were journalists silent about the astronomical expenditure incurred by the BJP during its poll campaign? All citizens of various cities were even offered refreshments! From where did the unprecedented funds in an election campaign in which President Obama’s poll budget was bettered originate? The media was silent.
The alleged criminality of some Trinamul Congress leaders in West Bengal is rightly criticized by the media. Presently Mr. Amit Shah is waxing eloquent about Miss Mamata Banerjee allegedly shielding killers in her state. Ironically, the same Amit Shah is involved with charges related to three murder cases, has spent time in prison, and continues to campaigns for his party across the nation on a perpetually extended bail. Why journalists ignore this glaring contradiction? The media remains silent.
Why are journalists silent about the BJP government in a state which purchased spurious medicines from a pharmaceutical firm blacklisted earlier for adulterating medicines? Several deaths could possibly have been traced to administering these spurious medicines. Does this unforgivable lapse by authority not deserve stringent criticism? The media is silent.
The Prime Minister was waxing eloquent about bringing back black money stashed abroad. Not only has nothing been accomplished in this regard during the last six months but a questionable scheme, the Kisan Vikas Patra, has been launched which will facilitate creation of black money. There is not a whimper against this move by the media.
The media rightly criticizes suspected acts of corruption by opposition leaders. When in violation of all accepted banking norms the biggest public sector bank extends a billion dollar loan to a close business confidant of Prime Minister Modi the media remains silent.
Many more examples can be cited of the media’s silence on questionable actions of the government and the ruling party. Journalists should reflect. If they abandon the responsibilities of their profession they not only diminish the reputation of their institution. They seriously jeopardize the functioning of a healthy and genuine democracy.