Media run Elections

Irtif Lone

Irtif-LoneThis election like many other elections which have happened previously would elect 543 representatives of the Indian state, who for the next five years to come would become the law makers of the nation. But, then this election is also different in many ways. The advent of information technology has played a major role in almost every aspect of the life and so has it made the presence felt on the political spectrum. It has somehow become the guiding force in these elections. And it’s use has risen to new heights.

In today’s world with the information boom, the news is being dropped at the door steps. The unexpected rise in the number of television channels in various languages has made it easy for the political class to reach to the masses. It has had such an impact that the political parties have assigned their spokespersons to particular channels on national level. And in the evenings newsrooms are converted into debating grounds, where the political parties raise to ground even the most serious concerns of the nation.

In these elections, while the spokespersons of the political parties fight it out in the prime time debates, the exit polls have created havoc on the minds of people. Almost every channel, in collaboration with some other research organisations, has taken to these opinion polls and has almost declared the new prime minister. This has had an immense influence on the Television watching masses, who have been fed with so much paid advertisement of these political parties that they lose the grip of real situation and start believing what is shown to them. And that somehow become the basis of developing their opinions and making decisions about who to vote for. Election rallies get more promotion through media than the election rally itself which was meant to address people of the particular constituency. In previous times, a politician would make a statement for particular community but today because of the media he is so much scrutinised, that he thinks a hundred times before speaking or if caught on the wrong foot ends up embarrassing himself and his party as well.

The social networks such as facebook and twitter, this time around are playing a major role as well. The political parties have appointed teams for these social sites as well, who market these parties and their candidates like that of business world. Even to the extent of having an image makeover of a politician involving each and every concept of marketing. And with the rise in the number of people who use these sites they are gaining popularity among the political class as well.

But then this has also helped in making various leaders accessible. They can easily be asked questions, and their opinion becomes public about almost every incident. This helps in having a greater insight into the thinking of the particular leader and his vision for the society.  Media has also played a tremendous role in unearthing various scams and other corruption related influences of various offices.

In Kashmir or for that matter various regional parties have not been able to make inroads in this field of reaching out. Even though the Chief Minister of J&K, is among the 10 most followed politicians on one of the social networking sites, he has not been able to inspire others to do the same, neither have they followed. That could be for two reasons though; one that they belong to traditional political system and show resistance to change or not being able to operate the gadgets and the other more serious one is that they want to hide from the glare of masses and not being accountable for their doings. And want to be invisible, till the next elections are declared.

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