Like the rest of the industrial sectors that see a future in the huge untapped Indian market, the Western media has also partnered with Indian upstarts. However, unlike in other industries, the lack of substance and quality in the daily output of the Indian brands, which carry names like CNN-IBN can actually dent the credibility of the western media very quickly.
Though in a country of 1.3 billion people, the direct influence of these channels remain restricted to the urban elite and is minuscule, their viewership and influence now stretch globally thanks to the internet. Besides what they show on a daily basis becomes the fodder for a huge number of local channels and printed media the next day, often adding more color and crazy interpretation when translated in to local languages, as can be seen from some weird postings on Facebook.
The Indian Supreme Court and the Caged Parrot
During a hearing last week on the progress of investigation by CBI (Indian equivalent of the FBI) the Supreme Court of India made a few euphemistic references to assert that the CBI should operate independently, comparing it to a caged parrot which merely repeats the voices of its different masters, the supreme court itself also being one of them.
The Indian media at large latched on to the "caged parrot" euphemism, for its dramatic and mass consumption effect, merely repeating it like a parrot though the reference itself doesn't mean anything in itself without the reference to the masters or the events leading up to it.
Though agencies like Reuters reported factually, no one in the media had shown any understanding of the deeper and under lying checks and balances of the Indian constitution, which squarely place the agency under a government of elected representatives, to ensure its power is limited and subject to control.
In fact only a few months back, the independence of the CBI was the bone of contention of the anti graft agitators and the opposition who wanted to place it under the Lokpal, a new constructional body with unlimited powers, clearly removing all powers to control it from the elected representative of the people and subverting the essence of Indian democracy.
Though the current government led by Sonia Gandhi's UPA and Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh has adopted a "laissez-faire" policy with the agency, overseeing the work of CBI is clearly the prerogative of the government despite instances of nepotism, which the CBI is investigating. Its director had asserted that neither the central theme of status reports got changed after meetings nor any deletion of any evidence against any suspect or accused took place.
The media has failed to impartially report the whole issue, which has relevance to the so-called Coalgate scam and loss to the government, which in itself is wrong interpretation by the CAG of government policy of allocating coal resources without auction, which began way back in 1993.
The government actually has every right to see that the investigating agency take cognisance of these facts in its reports and has only ensured that as was done in all previous cases before the supreme court.
The fact that the CBI is investigating execution of a government policy for incidence of corruption can't take its democratic duties away as being demanded by the judiciary.
As the fourth pillar of democracy, it is the duty of the media to expose and bring such anomalies for public scrutiny and debate and there is no sign of such mature conduct other than blatant sensationalism.
White Goat, Which Has Gone Viral!
No one knows if a goat that was noticed in the compound of the Indian Railway Minister Bansal only a few hours before he was sacked has anything to do with goat sacrificed for Chicago Cubs curse. It probably had more to do with Hindu astrology and its remedial measures of donating animals to ward off evils. But this goat whether it knew or not, soon became not only a "scapegoat" for the minister's sins to be fed first and then to be sacrificed by him but also internationally famous!
The sensation hungry India media showed live coverage of the goat and the video reporting by leading channels, who had no clue of what was going on but chose to assume and report it as some sort of animal sacrifice went viral.
Such reporting, which was clearly intrusion of privacy of the minister, without permission and devoid of facts was clearly unprofessional, even if such acts are part of a culturally diverse Indian life.
Timing and Political Intrigue of Last Week's Events
While drawing conclusions, the channels have clearly failed to analyse the week's events in context and look deeper in to why they happened, choosing for wild guesses instead.
According to Money Control:
IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai says that by sacking Ashwani Kumar and Pawan Kumar Bansal, the government has made a last ditch attempt to restore its fading credibility. Clearly serious questions will be asked as to just why the Prime Minister took so long to take this decision to sack his ministers. "Clearly there will also be questions as to whether the Prime Minister can completely insulate himself after the sacking of Ashwani Kumar," Rajdeep Sardesai said.
A deeper analysis would have proved that the government action was a well derived strategy in the wake of the regional elections in the state of Karnataka, which took place in the week.
The fact that the opposition which lost the state election had every reason to draw political punches to upset the government on the eve of the elections and the UPA government managed to successfully thwart the opposition ploy and win the election can explain last week's events more logically.
The media would have done much better by digging in to those questions of why the CBI chose to bring out the Bansal case, which they had been investigating for long just on the eve of the election rather than surmising on the plight of a prime minister who had no compunctions to resign from his post for lesser things like getting his way on the nuclear pact with the USA against stringent parliamentary opposition.