How Narendra Modi has bred media cynicism

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi‘s image—whom The Economist this week called a “disgrace”—has been built on the rapid economic development of his State, coupled with his obscene demonisation of the “other” and a distrust of all media that doesn’t support his State-sponsored pogrom of 2002.

Modi walks out of television interviews when questioned about the massacre, terms magazines who point fingers at his human rights record as handmaidens of the rival Congress party, and has generally cultivated the feeling that all journalists who seek to revisit the disgraceful episode are enemies of the State.

Little wonder, cynicism of the media and an incomprehension of its core responsibilities is rampant in the State.

Coomi Kapoor writes in The Indian Express:

“There is an impression in Gujarat that the principal opposition to the chief minister comes, not from his main political rival—the Congress—but from the media. A journalist on an election tour in a village in south Gujarat asked a farmer singing Modi’s praises whom he should speak to get the other point of view.

“‘For that you must go to any TVwallah,’ the farmer responded matter-of-factly. In the media the issue remains the mob barbarism against Muslims in 2002, which was carried out with the active support of government machinery and for which there has been no repentance.”

Illustration: R. Prasad/ Mail Today

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