A Media Watchdog in the sub-continent
There are several pertinent issues that the book addresses and it comes across as a refreshing take on the state of the media in India. The fact that it is a compilation of a series of deftly written articles makes it more exciting since it offers readers intellectual fodder on a wide range of issues – from locating caste and gender in the media to the debate about media ethics and the relationship between media and community. At this juncture, where many concerns are being raised about the way the Indian media industry is evolving and growing, the book has come out at a right time with deep inner reflections about issues that might not interest the mainstream media. Issues of gender, caste, ethics, conflict, justice, rights, marginalization, inclusiveness, objectivity, professionalism are ones rarely discussed in mainstream media discourse. These issues are complex and intricately embedded in the psyche of the Indian being, however do not find a place in media guided by commercial and business motives. A critical commentary on the nature of media coverage in the country, this reader succeeds in opening up several avenues of unthought-of and unexplored terrain of the Indian media. It is eye-opening not only for the reader but also for media professionals, media scholars, media researchers and others who have a stake in the media industry. It heralds media criticism and provides the much needed platform to bring it to spotlight.
In the wake of increasing power of the media, its enormous impact on audiences and its ability to reach to a large mass of people, this is one kind of effort in awakening the media consumer to the various hues of media practice as well as opening up a larger debate among the community of media professionals and scholars – as to what are the challenges and opportunities in front of the Indian media in present times. This reader reinforces the need for a media literate audience who do not consume media content passively and are socialized in questioning what the media feeds to them. In the backdrop of events where the Indian media has come under heavy criticism for sensationalizing and creating hype and voyeurism around serious issues, a publication of this nature and stature is welcome. Even as it presents a beginning to an understanding of the media and its working, it produces a grim and pessimistic picture of the media craft as practiced in this country. Any form of media criticism will be more welcoming if some of its energies and potentials are channelized towards discussing about and presenting solutions to intricate problems in the media. This reader though not very hopeful of the Indian media scene manages to put through a vibrant and dynamic picture of the same. It is a must read for anybody interested in the Indian media, especially for students and researchers in communication studies – as it will serve as a direction towards the various issues that can be researched and academically commented upon, eventually contributing to the growth of the communication discipline. It is a humble as well as a giant step in understanding the various constituencies dealt with by the Indian media – all laced into one. It is a story waiting to be told to and heard by scores of Indians for whom the media is an integral part of the daily dose of life.