Modern World is unimaginable without Media. Media’s role is not only limited to broadcasting news but also expressing views, holding opinions and enlighten the people. In the recent years, role of media has evolved drastically. It has become symbolic. In the same way, Media has played an important role in shaping our country.
Media has the ability to fame or defame anyone. It holds the power of turning a person into ‘hero’ or a ‘villain’, a ‘messiah’ or a ‘devil. For example, the case of 1988 American Presidential Elections where the phrase used by George H.W. Bush “Read my lips, no new Taxes” made him popular among the mass and win the elections. All credits to the media.
Narendra Modi is one of the politician who knows how to use the media brilliantly. Whether it was ‘Swacch Bharat Abhiyan’, ‘Jan Dhan Yojana’, Varanasi nominations or ‘Minimum Government Maximum Governance’, Modi took the help of media in popularising his agendas. He very well knows how to keep himself highlighted on the television screens of people. He understands the new media and the power it beholds. He knows how to use this tool to make him popular among the mass. How modestly he turned the ‘Clean India Campaign’ into a popular Ice Bucket Challenge and nominated famous faces of India into it and won brownie points to himself. Infact it reached as far as the walls of White House.
Another interesting thing to see is how the media houses that were unfriendly to him in the past have now become his dear ones. For decades, media houses kept painting Modi black for 2002 riots. He managed to survive the rough and harsh words said to him by the media back then. The same media is now hailing him and praising him for his way of governance. This strange behaviour has never been looked upon. Certainly this strange affection between him and the media has not gone much further because Media is still struggling to take out information from him and his government.
Modi is smart enough to use the media to reach the heights but not a fool enough to allow the media to bring him down the ladder. One can never see him in press conferences answering the questions of the journalists but one can definitely see him addressing media to popularise his campaigns or rallies. It won’t be wrong to call him ‘Anti-Media’ for he himself believes that media is corrupt and a hindrance between him and the people. According to him social media has obviated the need for intermediaries. He thinks that through social media he can directly convey his thoughts to the people but he is forgetting the fact that a fine percentage of people in India are still inactive on social media. They still use television and radio to have their opinion on anything. This one way interaction may become a drawback for him one day.
One more interesting fact on which I would like to throw light upon is the way Modi used media during his campaigning for general elections. By not giving any interviews till very end, depending mostly on the social media and getting media coverage for all of his rallies, media helped him gain popularity and transform him from a regional leader to a national figure. Modi’s shut door policy on the media has been raised by many journalists. Journalists from leading media houses are questioning him on limiting the media’s ability to reach out the government and ask questions that the government is refraining from answering.
Modi adopted an innovative communicating strategy that had him reaching out directly to people. He knows the tactics that whatever he does will be covered by the media as he is the leader of the nation. He has warned his ministers and bureaucrats not to unnecessarily give statements in order to avoid any type of embarrassing headlines. This has become a problem for the media as they can no longer take out the information because of Modi’s shut door policy. Though he is not a media friendly figure, he has not refrained himself from praising and applauding the media. Many a times he has mentioned media and their role in his speeches and praised them for taking his campaigning like ‘Clean India Mission’ to another level.
One thing that is well understood for now is that Modi very well knows how to control the media to his advantage. May be in coming days we can see a redefined and transparent relationship between the media and Modi’s government but for now it still remain a shut door policy between Modi, his government and the media.