Media needs to devise new act
Dr. Sapna M.S. :
With the last lap of general election 2019 held on Sunday, the world's largest democracy now awaits the outcome on May 23. As tension grips candidates and parties, pollsters will anxiously seek to score bulls eyes in their predictions, while people will keep their fingers crossed about how the power play unfolds at the Centre in the coming days.
The media in Karnataka, both mainline print and electronic as well as Net-based alternative media, are abuzz with political speculation. The electoral postmortems are on in full swing, with the exit polls sure to raise temperatures in the media hothouse. Ever since the election dates were announced two months back, the media in the State has been overheating, though the voters got very little clarity about issues that matter. The electronic media got some hard knocks from observers and discerning viewers for biased and irrelevant coverage far too often. The TV channels ran the TRP race with political stories, and doubtless minted ad revenues, but did little to enlighten viewers with good stories of development. The print media was a saving grace somewhat with past voting figures, current political analyses and future projections. The social media platform turned into a battleground with much partisan sound and fury but hardly anything informative for netizens. Radio’s contribution in creating voter awareness remained limited to PSA in motivating the public to vote responsibly and participate in the democratic process. Overall, this general election was marked by the media in Karnataka largely failing to discharge its responsibility. Their perceptions and approach to the democratic process remained the same as before, so they could not touch the masses when it came to forming constructive opinions. The poor turnouts at major places in the State during the two phases of voting indicate that the media should devise a brave new act if it wants to stay relevant and make a difference.