Treating Elections as a Reality Show
Prof. Mrinal Chatterjee:
Media in Odisha have had their hands full in recent days.
Besides covering the General and Assembly elections, they have to cover the devastating cyclone Fani, which made landfall at Puri and caused extensive damage in the 11 coastal districts affecting over 15 million people, killing 69 despite the best possible evacuation stragegy adopted by the alert administration.
Barring some glitches media in Odisha did an excellent job in the coverage of Cyclone Fani. But when it comes to the coverage of elections, media in Odisha faltered and continues to do so on many counts. Like the political parties did this time, issues concerning the basic necessities were not highlighted the way it should have been done by the media. The coverage was by and large person-centric. ‘Who said what’ got more coverage that the real issues of the people at large. Odisha is facing an agrarian crisis. That was not realy centre staged. The issue of employment, livelihood, and environment were not discussed widely.
There were more attempts to cover the elections like a reality show than a serious affair which has deep impact on the future of the country.
There has been more gloss in the coverage, the graphics are smarter, headlines are catchier. But the coverage lacked deapth and incisive analysis.