For those who still do not believe that the Indian media is fully sold out to corporates, who in turn are generally hell bent on foisting their darling Modi upon us all, here is what happened to me yesterday. I got a call from the Times of India asking my opinion about its “ManifestoTOI” which was on the cover yesterday. I told the reporter that I had not read it as I generally skip ads and go straight to the news. She asked me to read it and then she would call back to get my quote in 15 minutes.
What I read immediately alerted me to the fact that this was nothing but a clever presentation of the neo-liberal agenda, which combines extreme right wing economics with a few crumbs to be thrown at those who believe in individual freedoms. So while it advocates tax cuts for the rich, eases land acquisition norms for industry, promotes privatization and foreign direct investment, promotes indirect taxation (which shifts the tax burden to the poor) it also throws a few crumbs to those of us who fight for civil liberties by calling for a reform of Article 377, removing the male bias in the law on adultery, and taking a relook at the laws on sedition.
When the reporter called me back for my response I asked her if a strong critique of the TOI manifesto would be carried by the TOI. What I heard on the other end was some nervous laughter and then “May I check with my seniors and call you back?” She never did.
This morning’s TOI carries rave reviews of its manifesto from across all shades of the political spectrum. But look closer at the quotes. Only the non-critical bits spoken have been carried. Did Kavita Krishnan or Prashant Bhushan say nothing against privatization or land grabbing or were they censored? I certainly was.
वरिष्ठ फिल्मकार और सामाजिक / राजनैतिक चिन्तक आनन्द पटवर्धन के फेसबुक वॉल से.