Election-wise and vote-ready
Dr Anupa Lahkar Goswami:
It is surely not the first time that as a voter, we have been exposed to media that reeks of political manifestos, propagandas and interest, but surely it is the first time where we fail to identify what is real, what is fake, what is trustworthy and what is not.
Quite interestingly, media and politics have wrapped around each other so tight that its quite difficult to now identify where it all starts and where it ends. Television shows are now full of panel discussions abundant with mud-slinging and over-lapping of conversations with a jury styled journalist deciding who is right and who is wrong with little room for freedom of expression.
The last time I heard radio was in the bus where there were ads designed to make the people question the policies and regular conversations without exactly telling people the outcome of each policy and hovering in whataboutery.
Trolls and memes have taken over the social media and there hardly goes a scan in the social media where we do not see two people arguing over a political party, hell bent on proving their point to the large number of invisible audience who very quietly read the content and enjoy the public banter on a social forum.
Even films are mostly biopic that represents a particular leader from a certain perspective designed to make the character look acceptable and lovable.
What the real matter now is how media literate are we to consume media that banks heavily on content generated by the political parties? Are the people really matured to understand or segregate truth from fabricated ideas or is the country that is heavily dependent on social media thinking twice before forwarding a fake on half truth to others.
These issues of misguided information are now circulating across and nothing remains completely aloof from politics. Last year alone there were close to 300 deaths resulting from fake social media messages and this year alone 100 messages are doing the networks every day that had little or no element of truth.
Merely raising awareness on voting will not solve the issues of the largest democracies, but there should be series of workshops that will let people understand how to choose content over misinformation. Should there be not regulations on news presenters present unbiased stories or how headlines do not reflect opinion but objectivity.
In a nation of a million voters, difference of choice is but obvious but what is important is how to identify whether the leader that promises to fulfil certain objectives are exactly what the voter is looking for. Large scale campaigns on media literacy in all the forms, print, television, radio, social media and even films is the need of the hour. This off course could be carried out by independent bodies whose primary objective should be to let people exercise their voting rights judiciously and not simply be swayed by appeals or agendas.
Voting is a right and responsibility but voting responsibly should be the lookout for all members of the society.