Role of Media in Anti-Corruption Movement

Anna Hazare at CNN IBN Indian of the year award said, “It is media which is responsible for making me a national icon. “

India is passing through a transitional phase, old values are crumbling; new values are formed, what was earlier considered blasphemous are now being considered sacred at least by educated class. This period is very uncomfortable and excruciating so here comes into play the crucial role of media as media deals with ideas besides media forms an integral part of the lives of all of us. So, by its very nature, media can play extremely crucial role in this transitional phase by shaping opinion of the hoi polloi (the masses). Almost every democratic country, be it USA or UK, was at some point of time severely plagued by graft. The media there played extremely crucial role in spreading rational idea to emerge from such difficult phase. It now India’s turn where every form of media be it Social media—the newest entrant in media section, Print Media—With maximum reach to the hinterland, Electronic Media—which has greatest impact on rising middle class, has to display exceedingly significant role in creating awareness about the current anti-corruption movement.

Characteristics of the movement:

·      Movement comprised of people who generally don’t participate in politics

·      People participating in the movement had little knowledge of political parlance

·      The crowd at the demonstration was mostly middle class who was disheartened with the rampant corruption prevalent ubiquitously in the society

·      Lokpal has been a perennially deferred promise of the successive governments, for the last 44 years

·      The movement has been led by a leader named Anna Hazare, who is down to earth, simple living and simple conversing social worker

·      A prominent member of the Anna team has wide experience in civil service area, non-governmental organization and active in the struggle for strengthening democracy et al

·      The movement was termed as People’s Movement for anti corruption

·      This movement was featured as one of the top 10 stories in the Time Magazine for the year 2011

·      The movement gathered support not only in India but also in foreign

Media, today, plays extremely vital role in people life. Media is like a mirror to the society which reflects each and everything about the society to people, thus shapes people’s perception. The media has enormous power to affect their opinion. The media affect our perception in three ways- Social, Economic and Political. In the current anti corruption movement, the assessment presented by the media has greatly helped in gaining critical perspective on the anti-corruption movement like the finer point of the law, including legal and constitutional issues and flawed notions such as the “supremacy of the Parliament.”

Media greatly helped in making the movement a grand success. It greatly helped in raising the awareness about the movement.

Social Media also played extremely crucial role in spreading awareness about anti corruption movement. In the contemporary world, more and more people are on social networking sites. Social networking sites play a vital role in shaping the opinions and spreading awareness about various contemporary issues. In the current situation it’s often reiterated that Team Anna used this tool quite well to garner the support of netizens in turn making the movement a success.

On the other side, media also tried to kill the movement by targeting team Anna. A counterfeit CD featuring prominent member of team Anna, Prashannt Bhushan, was circulated without proper verification. Even Arvind Kejrival and Kiran Bedi were targeted.

Thus, media has played a pivotal role in current anti-corruption or rather I should say certain media has played the role of an activist. It was proclaimed that Anna is a media creation only. But there is more to it. To see the anti-corruption movement only as media creation is gross misjudgement/misreading of the mood of the nation as people got attracted to it because people saw this movement as antithesis to what happens in our society viz. corruption. Media contribution to current anti-corruption movement is obvious as there is no gainsay to the fact that 24*7 media coverage has helped the campaign to reach out to the masses remarkably.

Media should capture the mass movement against graft but should not take sides as it will adversely affect the neutrality of the media. Media should portray the real image of what is happening, not the fake image which arises due to stray incidents of paid news.

Nilaya Mitash Shanker

Image Source [http://www.flickr.com/photos/ramesh_lalwani/5597837277/sizes/z/in/photostream/]