The so called vibrant media!

By Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)
08 January 2013 00:08 IST

Shekhar Gupta, the Editor-in-Chief of Indian Express, in his weekly column ‘National Interest’ last week has written a piece (of mind): “Them versus Them”.  It basically speaks about the second category of ruling class that has emerged in India in a much more powerful manner than in the past. He categorises them as ‘ruling elites’ and ‘governing elites’.

“Governing elites are the political and bureaucratic classes, the judiciary, the conventional or rather institutional intelligentsia and media, and, of course, the police and the armed forces. The ruling elites, on the other hand, are the economically “arrived” Indians outside of the sarkari system. The businessmen, new professionals, particularly from IT and banking, the EMI-powered, young, double-income community and, of course, the conventional old rich, and offspring of the earlier generations of governing elites, NRI returnees and the modern foreign foundation-fuelled activists.” (Shekhar Gupta)

 The ruling elite is not a new category. But it was always limited to the powerful ‘haves’ like industrialists in the ‘urban India’ and rich landlords in the ‘rural Bharat’. May be the liberalised and globalised corporate world has now added quite a few sections to it, which Gupta lists out. It’s nice that Gupta has added even foreign foundation-fuelled activists in the ruling elite category. Till yesterday, the ruling elite were the financial lobbies of political parties, but today they gang up with the rest of the section that Gupta has mentioned. And as he says, both the ruling camps blame each other for maladministration and bad governance. They even wear Gandhi Topi and become “Anna”.

Gupta is absolutely right when he evolves the new practical theory. But dumping media in one single category of ‘governing elite’ sounds quite traditional. In fact the reality is that the media is divided between both these camps. India’s “national-level” high profile electronic media and print media in English has today become an inseparable integral part of the ruling elite. They immediately reach Jantar Mantar or Rajpath and cry for justice, as though injustice has happened for the first time in a free democratic country called India.

The second category of media is the regional electronic media or the regional language print media. Either it is owned by the ‘governing elite’ including politicians and political parties or the business class around this governing elite. Candle-light vigils is not their culture. They believe in exposures (of opponents), one-sided publicity or simply self-promotion.

There is a third kind of media. It’s impartial. Keeps reporting about injustice meted out to the ‘have nots’.  But hardly anybody reads or watches them. Suddenly the ruling elite takes up the same issue and it becomes a national news. They get puzzled; but follow them. They also appreciate the good work the governing elite does but remains a permanent critic of any ruling or opposition party, as a watchdog.

This third category of media is the weakest today among all. And the strongest, of course, are either those belonging to the governing elite or the ruling elite. And we call them the “vibrant media....”

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

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Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)

Sandesh Prabhudesai is a journalist, presently the Editor of, Goa's oldest exclusive news website since 1996. He has earlier worked as the Editor-in-Chief of Prudent & Goa365, Goa's TV channels and Editor of Sunaparant, besides working as a reporter for Goan and national dailies & weeklies in English and Marathi since 1987. He also reports for the BBC. He is also actively involved in literary and cultural activities. After retirement from day-to-day journalism in 2020, he is into Re-Search Journalism (पुनर्सोद पत्रकारिता), focusing on analytical articles, Video programs & Books.

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Previous Comments

Phew!!!! classic revelation !!!!! At least there is one "Shekhar" (read Shaker) who acknowledges the fact about the ground reality existing in today's 4th Estate.

When can we expect to have the 3rd Category of media in Goa??????. We did have some 3rd category journos in Goa, but those are either withered away or have "turned themselves in" to the 1st or 2nd category journos....


- Jaret de SIlva, Chandor | 11 th January 2013 01:18


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