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Barkha Dutt expresses deep

anguish over the fact that the


mainstream media can no longer
in luence elections
By OpIndia Staff • opindia.com • 3 min

View Original
Barkha Dutt

Seasoned journalist Barkha Dutt in her recent conversation with


Congress media panelist Shama Mohammad expressed her anger
and anguish over the fact that the mainstream media can no
longer influence the voters in elections.
Where @DrShamaMohd of Congress asks
@_YogendraYadav why he advocated NOTA, didnt field
candidates & now wants Congress to “die.” She also draws
a contentious distinction between voters of North being less
educated, more vulnerable to fake news, than the South.
Excerpt @newsHtn pic.twitter.com/eZVKnyfFKG

While interacting with Mohammad and former AAP leader


Yogendra Yadav on Congress leader Kapil Sibal backed HTN
Tiranga TV, Dutt said that the media is heading to become
absolutely irrelevant in terms of being able to influence the
outcome of elections. “I think politicians of all hues have
developed their own mechanisms for engaging with the media. I
promise you it doesn’t make me happy as a journalist to say this.
But I believe the mainstream media is heading to absolute
irrelevance in being able to influence how a voter votes in this
country today,” she said. “I literally believe that,” she reiterated.
Other than ‘influence over voters’, journalists have also been
accused of having influenced and lobbied for politicians.

In July 2009, leaked audio tapes, popularly known as ‘Radia tapes’


acquainted us with how the narrative is set, Cabinet berths
negotiated, the disgraceful nexus between journalists and
politicians and the political impunity to brush aside the scam.
According to the conversation transcripts between Barkha Dutt
and Niira Radia, Radia was lobbying against the reappointment
of Dayanidhi Maran to the post of Union IT and Communications
minister and Barkha was actively mediating between the two
parties to somehow end the stalemate and form a government at
the centre.

The panel was discussing whether the exit polls, which have been
predicting a landslide victory for Narendra Modi, are correct and
is he set for a record win. Barkha was being critical of Congress
and referred to the exit polls as an ‘existential crisis’ for the party
if the numbers are proven right. Barkha was talking down
Congress panelist Shama Mohammad that Congress may just fare
pretty badly when it comes to the three states (Madhya Pradesh,
Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh) it recently won state elections in.

Mohammad, while trying to defend the Congress, said that up


until 2014, there was no ‘pliable media’ except “Barkha and few
others”. She adds, “The opposition, we were questioned. We were
questioned for policy paralysis. We were questioned against the
corruption allegations. We were questioned for Nirbhaya. We had
a Kathua which was almost equal to Nirbhaya. Did anybody
question other than a few people? He (Modi) did not even say a
word against it. We were asked why was Manmohan Singh quiet?
Why was Sheila Dikshit quiet? Mrs Gandhi received Nirbhaya at
the airport. What was done for Kathua?”

The Congress panelist seems to have forgotten that in 2014, the


Congress was the ruling party and not the opposition. Hence, the
questions on policy paralysis and corruption allegations were not
on the ‘opposition’ but actually to the party in power. She then
goes on to politicise brutal rape cases and even compare the two.

Shama Mohammad then proceeds to declare that the reason


behind the Congress’ bad performance in North Indian states is
that the people in North Indian states are ‘pliable’ and they are
not as educated like the people in the south.

With less than 24 hours to go before the counting for the 2019 Lok
Sabha elections begin, desperate times are calling for desperate
measures. While exit polls have predicted a second term for Modi
government, we can only wait and watch as the actual results are
declared tomorrow.