Talking about issues that matter, it reminds me of the first railway budget. The television news channels did a quick interview to some of the people who by their own introduction were from the IT sector or other organized sectors with insurance, health cover and perhaps access to loans and credit to build their future. The question was asked what do you look forward from the Railway Budget and expectation from Railways in general. The gentleman replied “cleanliness”. The answer was an honest one, yes we all agree, cleanliness is an issue, but would we get the same answer if the question was raised to a migrant labour who travels across states so that he could save a pittance and send back a small fraction of the same to his family? Perhaps no. For him, access to a transportation is a lifeline, which at an affordable cost is appreciated, at any day, this labourer would choose affordability and connectivity over cleanliness which generally comes at an additional cost and is associated with the expensive air conditioned trains like the Shatabdi.
Who the media is addressing to?
The media never discussed on keeping railways affordable, keeping railways accessible to the masses (i.e to not privatize it), it discussed on cleanliness. The question arises, who is the media considers it as it consumers? Are we right to consume the media which highlights problems what you and I, who can afford an internet connection, a house to stay, a future to look forward to? As citizens who love our country, aren’t we supposed to keep our needs aside and take up and raise voice for the less fortunate? Aren’t the media supposed to highlight the plight of the poor and the issues associated with the poor? Couldn’t the media increase sensitivity towards the problems and issues faced by the poor and mobilize the well off to act to alleviate the social evils? Since the media is largely privatized, I can only request the media to take up these issues.
The prime-time debates in News channels are largely about politics, the political parties, what controversial statement they made, what they didn’t. Barely, you would find any worthy debates, on the bills passed, the laws that need to be passed. The overload of politics on prime-time debates has distanced people from the social evils and social issues that our society faces. It will delay hugely our march as a country to alleviate poverty. Poverty alleviation and other social malaises are things which society and citizens must be concerned as much as government and media should be. It is high time media gets its priorities right and become a channel of mass mobilisation and shed the debates on issues which are of little or no significance.