Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Justice Markandey Katju blasts the media

Role of media in reshaping society
India is passing through a transitional period in our history -transition from feudal, agricultural society to modern industrial society. This is a very painful and agonising period in history. When Europe was going through this period the media played a great role, it was of great help in transforming the European society from feudalism to a modern society.
Media is anti-people, irresponsible
Indian media is, very often, playing an anti-people role. Let me give you that in three respects. Number one, it often diverts the attention of the people from the real problems which are basically economic. 80 per cent of the people are living in horrible poverty, unemployment, facing price rise, healthcare etc. You divert attention from those problems and instead you project filmstars and fashion parades and cricket as if they are the problems of the people.

The Roman emperors used to say 'if you cannot give the people bread, give them circuses'. In India, send them to cricket if you cannot give them bread. Many channels, day and night, are showing cricket as if that is the problem of the country.

Media divides the people
Very often the media divides the people. You see, this is a country of great diversity because it is a country broadly of immigrants. We must, therefore, respect each other and we must remain united. Take for example, whenever a bomb blast takes place, in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, within a few hours almost every channels starts showing that an e-mail has come or a SMS has come that Indian Mujahideen have claimed responsibility or Jaish-e-Mohammad or Harkat-ul-Jihad, some Muslim name. You see e-mail or SMS any mischievous person can send, but by showing it on the TV channels and next day in print, you are in a subtle way conveying the message that all Muslims are terrorists and bomb throwers and you are demonising the Muslims. And, 99 per cent people of all communities, whether Hindu, Muslim, are good people.
Media promotes superstition, casteism etc
India is passing in a transitional period from feudal society to modern society. So the media must promote scientific ideas to help the country move forward, like the European media did in the period of transition in Europe. Here the media promotes superstition, astrology and so on. You know, 80 to 90 per cent of the people in the country are mentally very backward, steep in casteism, communalism, superstition and so on. Should the media uplift them and bring them up to a higher mental level and make them part of enlightened India or should the media go down to that level and continue and perpetuate their backwardness? The media through many TV channels show astrology which is pure humbug. Astrology is total superstition that if you wear this colour shirt today it will be very good for you, what is all this?

I have a poor opinion of most media people. Frankly, I don't think they have much knowledge of economic theory or political science or literature or philosophy. I don't think they have studied all this.

See very often I find those debates totally frivolous. First of all there is no discipline. If there are four people on the panel, all speaking at the same time, is this the way disciplined people should behave? When you speak, I will never interrupt you. But why should you interrupt me when I am speaking?

The majority, I'm sorry to say, are of a very poor intellectual level, media people, I doubt whether they have any idea of economic theory or political science, philosophy, literature, I have grave doubts whether they are well read in all this, which they should be.

I don't see any effect of that move. The media has to be educated They must be told that you are living in a poor country where you have to address the problems of the poor people. What do you show? Lady gaga has come. Yesterday I saw it on TV, read it in papers. Is this the problem of the country? Kareena Kapoor has seen her Madam Tussauds statue and she says she loves it. This is what is on TV and in the headlines.
Justice Markenday Katju with Karan Thapar in IBN. Here

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