'Madhyam' becomes the victim: Media and strongmen of global politics

Delhi Jan 20, 2020, 08.14 PM(IST) Written By: Kartikeya Sharma

File photo: Narendra Modi and Donald Trump Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Social media accounts supported by various parties have attacked mainstream media of either being lame or liberal.

In a rare display of displeasure Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit out at the media without naming the word per se. He did not even mention the issues in detail but was quick to use the Hindi word ‘madhyam’. Prime Minister said that BJP workers should not expect the version of the government to be represented by the 'madhyam' and asked them to bypass the 'madhyam' and directly connect with its electoral base. Prime Minister also took a dig at the Opposition by saying that people without political capital are trying to malign the government. Though Prime Minister did not specify the issue, but government has been under exceeding attack on the issue of Citizenship Amendment Act and slowdown in the economy.

BJP has been the pioneer in using social media techniques for electoral and political purposes. Other Opposition parties continue to be way behind BJP when it comes to constant communication with its electoral constituency. Prime Minister’s direction to the workers to have a direct connection with the people on important issues is a strong message in this direction.

Media baiting is not new in the world of politics. Heavyweight global leaders like US President Donald Trump to Russia’s Vladimir Putin have taken a strong position against the mainstream media which is labelled as liberal, and hence, opposed to their political vision. In this case, the attack was not direct. In the past, even Rahul Gandhi and other leaders of regional parties have been taking jibe against the mainstream media, asking them to take a strong position against the ruling dispensation. Social media accounts supported by various parties have attacked mainstream media of either being lame or liberal.

Media bashing by every political party in both India and abroad, reflects a growing public trend of politics becoming illiberal in nature. BJP has a huge mandate in Lok Sabha and it came back with an increased number in 2019. Despite a huge mandate, there is a feeling within the govt that the Opposition has not reconciled to its defeat.

Same are the concerns reflected by Donald Trump who continues to face Opposition from various institutions of the US government. Despite getting CAA passed in Lok Sabha, BJP too faces street protests throughout India supported by civil society activists and Opposition leaders quietly. This issue has led to a lockdown in a conversation between the Opposition and the government which refuses to back down on the issue. Whatever may be the outcome, the ultimate loser is the mainstream media which is getting caught between political crossfire that gets personal and highly accentuated through social media.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL) 

Kartikeya Sharma

Kartikeya Sharma is Political Editor at WION. When he is not working, you will find him travelling, reading or cooking.