mid-day editorial: A cheerleader media can be dangerous
Last week, Uttar Pradesh got a new CM. Also last week, the government rammed the Finance Bill in the Parliament, with scores of amendments that even MPs were kept in the dark about. You can be forgiven for thinking that the former was the only thing that happened in the country.
We saw stories about what the newly-appointed CM ate for breakfast and how fond he is of the cows in his Gorakhpur Gaushala. What we certainly did not see were stories about his criminal record and how he stoked communal tensions in the state whenever elections were around the corner. Also missing was how the CM's pet anti-Romeo squads have been running riot on the streets. On Sunday, videos of these vigilante goon squads looting citizens surfaced. None of the so-called national media outlets featured this story.
While the media was going gaga over Adityanath, the government was busy passing the Finance Bill through the back door via a money bill. Aadhaar was made mandatory to hold a bank account and file income tax returns. Failing to get an Aadhaar card (which the Supreme Court has said cannot be made compulsory) linked to your finances will render your all-important PAN invalid.
Even if you pored over all of our newspapers, you wouldn't have found anything on the Finance Bill. Whatever questions have been raised about the legality of passing a bill with over 40 amendments have come from niche new media outlets and social media warriors, who have a fraction of the reach of the mainstream media.
At this rate, it is not long before mainstream media ceases being the fourth pillar, forcing people to turn to alternative sources for their news. You just have to check the latest forward on your family/school WhatsApp group to know how that works.