How media misses the poll woods for the trees

RAJEEV RAO writes from Bangalore: Watching the coverage of the 2009 general elections the last few days, I am struck by how little coverage there is in the electronic media on any governance issue that really matters.

It is all about alliances, breakups, hate speeches, Varun Gandhi, criminals, Sanjay Dutt, who will be prime minister, etcetera, etcetera.

I understand that these are compelling topics.  But is there no time that any media could muster to talk about and grill the wannabe leaders about what they are going to do after getting elected?

It is as is the purpose of elections is elections itself—and not governance.

At least these wannabe leaders will start thinking and preparing about it rather than coming and glibly talking and supporting or condemning Varun Gandhi.

It is not that the voter is not bothered about issues. Yes, he is probably too busy trying to point out to the media that these issues matter as well.  But, he will listen if politicians present their view on real issues, he will evaluate and at least a few will separate the wheat from the chaff, and those few might just matter in the end in a close election.

There are enough and more issues to cover—corruption, terrorism, reviving economy, infrastructure development, women’s reservation, reservation (this will mean more fights on TV, but better before elections rather than after on this one), rural education, primary education, healthcare, girl education, foreign policy, the list can go on.

The last three chief ministers got re-elected only for one reason: governance (Sheila Dixit, Raman Singh and Shivraj Singh Chauhan), and that is the only thing that is completely missed out in all election coverage.

Or I have completely missed the point on the Indian elections?

Crossposted on

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