The fourth estate

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Nitesh Chaudhary belongs to the 2K10/EEE batch of the Delhi Technological University/ Delhi College of Engineering. He many-a-times happens to board the same metro as me and that does lead to some fruitful-mostly-political discussions. He also has a knack to find people to debate with other than his batch-mates or people from his university or any other college for that matter. He doesn’t really blog, though he could be found here.

Here, he talks about the fourth estate, i.e. our media. Read on.

*** 

It is said that “Power corrupts, Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” In my views, in fact, “Power corrupts, but the fear of losing power corrupts absolutely.” The first case is a universally accepted and observed cliché. The second is a more fitting observation in the top echelons of totalitarian nations, and sarcastically, in democracies like ours. The third, the ‘fear of losing power’ however is true for an institution that we have seen emerging in our neighbors only in the last couple of decades- our brute and unforgiving media.

It is widely accepted that the fourth estate (the first three of course being the legislature, executive and judiciary) has raised issues for the utterly impecunious that would have been nothing more than a molehill for our colored parties unless the elections arrived. The achievements have been tremendous and results received with open hands. From high profile murder cases to little tots slipping into bore wells to the most chided forms of terror practices in the society, the coverage have galvanized people once and again, bringing the general public under a common roof, which was unimaginable beyond religion and ethnic lines. A controversial leader of the ruling government may be grilled for hours without sparing him even for a gulp of water, let alone help from his cohorts. The issues are adjudicated without delays, and often turning the habitually reticent leaders (read suspects) to shout their minds out. The vociferous media, no doubt has been credited to exhume several covert actions of the ruling governments leaving them with no choice but chastise the ‘culprits’ (who otherwise would be protected favorites).

The positives, have sadly, not been the only arguments, for the fourth estate, as has been the scenario for the trio placed above. The media basking in a ‘ savior’ tag is far from visible. Surely, the trust among the four is cornered towards the Media, crucial lacunae have been difficult to do without. It has often been pestered for quickly disabusing one from one’s own beliefs. From apotheosis of anyone to reducing one to a flagrant ghost within a blink, the mercurial nature is clearly beamed.  The otherwise exacting job of theirs has often invited criticism for being out of context, at times motivated, mischievous and malicious. In the league for crushing its competitors behind in the ugly race of TRPs, the ordinary television channel has left no stone unturned.

 Though they have tried hard to thwart all attempts to clear air over contentious issues, innocents have been tagged contraband, silly rumors spread without responsibility, leaders and institutions misquoted and above all, the common man has lost scores of hours every week watching the useless gaffes aired in loops lasting hours at a stretch.  No doubt, gaffes are a personal favorite with our moderators on popular television channels, but incredibly they also fetch them good TRPs, thanks to our sordid interests in this nincompoop.

But after all the pestering, comes the retrospection of how we let ourselves get influenced by a section of profit-making private institutions whom we consider nothing more than TRP mongers.

The information age is surely in its fastest ever era, for one wonders how the world shall be in eons to follow. One only hopes the times to come shall be milder, and the celebrated fourth estate keeps a check on the other three, for that is primarily intended. We hope that the ‘ugly truth’ of the “fear of losing power” does not hold true in times to come with the estates experiencing changes for the good.

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