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WE ARE PROUD OF OUR MEDIA BUT….

The centrality of the role that the electronic media – particularly the talk shows that the TV channels run – have played in the development of political consciousness and the resultant maturity, can hardly be denied. A great deal of credit is deservedly given to the prolonged and determined movement of the lawyers for bringing about a revolutionary change in the mood of the people and consequentially the political climate.
But it is not known how far the Lawyers’ Movement had gone, had it not been brought to the spotlight by the media with such a sustained emphasis. In all probabilities the Establishment would have crushed or strangled the movement with not much fear of backlash.
The media therefore cannot but be regarded as the spearheading force that has brought the country as far as the 18th of February 2008 and beyond.
Not a long time back, only a handful of political figures were true beneficiaries of ‘exposure’ to the public eye. Thanks to the TV channels, not only the former stars have risen to the superstar status, but also a galaxy of new stars has emerged and caught the attention of the people (who today happen to know more about more players in the country’s power-game).
But the media have a less enviable side too. The TV channels being in a fierce competition with one another, have a tendency to overplay, over-react, overemphasise and overdo. In their race to take the lead, they occasionally – even frequently – tend to attach inflated importance to subjects which should either be dismissed casually, or set aside carefully in the larger interests of the public. They also happen to be inclined to creating new issues out of nothing, if the issues in hand either lose their ‘charm’ and ‘impact’ – or simply run out of gas.
It goes without saying that the TV talk shows thrive in controversy. If there is none they must create it. The anchormen or the hosts love to put words into the mouths of their guests, by asking leading questions. Sometimes their leading questions succeed in extracting unintended answers of sensational nature.
One-up-manship or ‘I’m – superior-to-you-Mr’ style has become a hallmark of some hosts. It is in some cases acceptable too. But mostly the purpose of the show – digging deep into the subject – is lost.
I am not trying to take any credit away from the star performers of the TV channels, but these happen to be very ‘sensitive’ and critical times in our history. We have left our Yesterday behind. It is dead. From the womb of Today is going to take birth our Tomorrow. Let us not pressurize those engaged in the conception-process into delivering a premature and fragile baby.
Let us allow each player in the game to play his cards the way he wants to. Why should we try to have a glimpse into their cards by asking them unanswerable questions?
At this stage let us try to do everything we can to prevent the erosion of the hopes born in the late hours of the night of the 18th of February 2008.

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