Like many other parameters of social importance, Indian politicians have started making efficient use of media, too, as a priming tool for their agenda setting.

It may be matter of a debate whether the media carriers being used are aware of it and have become comfortable with the practice to increase the profitability or they are still not reading the scheming of the political class.

There may be a mixed class of these two categories. But what is clear is the fact the media organizations are being used and manipulated by the political class to promote their agenda.

Compulsions to remain commercially viable and an excessive commercial approach to reap more out of the less to a socially-responsible profession is killing the longevity of the shelf-life of issues of social concern in the public sphere of debates, thus suppressing the spirit of the culture of healthy debate on social issue, a culture that has not even fully germinated in India. Media outfits are supposed to carry out a role of prime importance in promoting such a culture of debate.

Many such issues stand out. If we talk of the recent developments, after the deregulation of fuel prices, the periodic revision in prices of petroleum products like petrol, diesel and LPG is an issue of huge public interest with an effect that has capacity to burn almost the whole nation with it.

But no one in media is talking about it with such a proportionate urgency. That was not so, not so long ago.

Deregulation of prices of petroleum products was big, big news when it started filtering out first. The ballooning exercise by the government to selectively leak information on policy matters related to it made for marathon debates. The trend intensified when the prices were decontrolled. It graduated to a riot sort of spread with first few hikes. The steepness of the first few hikes only added to it.

The partial deregulation of the diesel had same effect in initial days because it opened the territory for multiple prices rises by directly affecting the commercial transportation charges. Political opposition to the issue only added more fuel to the fire.

But now, why don’t we hear that uproar, that unabated media commentary advocating for the concerns of the common man, that war cry of the political opposition tearing into the ruling political class, while the issue remains there?

Fuel and energy price rises still hit the masses rise as they were affecting them a year ago.

Why and how, then, the issue lost the importance for the media?

Aren’t they talking about it or no one is listening to them?

How the politicians could manipulate the media to achieve it?

How did they set their agenda and how the media became a party to it?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –