By Pushpit Sinha:
Open the morning newspaper, switch to any TV channel, log on to any social site like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. and you’ll find pop ups, promoted videos and pushed/forced advertisements of “Har haath shakti; Har haath tarakki” and “Ab ki bar Modi Sarkar”; irrelevant, insignificant recorded messages from faces of major political parties wooing us for our votes. As if this wasn’t enough they even penetrate into our lives by decorating the whole city and highways with their party colours as if they were their drawing rooms and that they have owned the streets and roads. Look anywhere and you’ll find tons of examples of propaganda, brainwashing, agenda-setting, frame-building and so on. This propaganda has gained so much importance that issuing manifestos for the general public is probably the last thing on their minds. Therefore, we see manifestos being published on the day polling had already started. Don’t we really need to read these well in advance in order to form our opinion and cast our votes? Well, they probably don’t think so.
My concern here is not to question the parties about their party funding or the sudden growth of the INR. It is an accepted fact now that even if you question them by filing an RTI application you won’t get a reply. Even a high court finding won’t deter their ambitions. This is the state of our so-called Republican form of Government. TakeÂ this article in The Hindu, for example.Â They don’t consider themselves accountable to us by any sense. Then what is this all about if we can’t ask their source of funding? What I’m trying to propose is a step ahead of this. I’m going to talk about bringing a change in the whole system of this fake over-the-top propaganda.
1. Why do we need full page advertisements and TV commercials to frame our opinion? Shouldn’t their work be their only advertisement? Why don’t they debate on our issues and then ask for our votes? All such advertisements and propaganda must be banned and made illegal. There should be independent annual appraisal audits of the work performed by the parties comparing them with the promises made in their manifestos and the same report should be uploaded on Election Commission’s website, and not on the party’s website, for our viewing. In that way their work will talk for them and their manifestos will become of utmost importance to them. Framing and issuance of manifestos will be taken more seriously then.
2. All corporate funding must be banned. Parties must accept funds only from individuals and that too in every form but hard cash. This will ensure and promote more accountability and transparency. They will be more inclined towards working for us rather than pleasing and favouring certain selected corporate houses only.
3. All media houses and news channels must disclose the names of their promoters and the shareholding pattern because the nation wants to know. How can you scream of being independent and fair and yet run BJP/Congress commercials in your breaks? The nation wants to know why you telecast full political rallies with a running ticker “Video source: Congress/BJP” and blackout a person who legitimately questions your independence and fairness? It’s a well-accepted fact that there can’t be any wave without media coverage and propaganda.
Let us ask this question to ourselves. Are we really that dumb that political parties will influence our votes by just doing window dressing and fake propaganda? Is the youth of this country in such ignorance and apathy that they’ll attend and promote any political rally for a few hundred rupees? We are being exploited by them. Couldn’t each starving child of this country be fed by the amount which is instead being spent on creating fake waves and agendas? Think and ask yourself.