Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Moral Inspector


The I&B Ministry is perhaps the leading indicator of the overall performance of the UPA Government. Historically, the Congress has tried to control the free media through various legislation, the Emergency being the very zenith of this. This trend was repeated under PR Das Munshi, who christened himself the "moral Inspector" after banning FTV and AXN for 'immoral' programming.

But the most disastrous act of the Ministry was undoubtedly the bureaucratisation of state-run Doordarshan. Today, DD is controlled by the choicest bureaucrats, none of whom have the skill or experience to run one of Asia's largest broadcasters. Doordarshan continues to be shunned by the urban masses and even the rural populace is losing interest in it. DD has not been able to achieve the quality and reliability of the private media and does not cater to the younger audience - unless you count the educational channel, Gyan Darshan.

The controversial move by the Ministry of trying to give bureaucrats the power to virtually take over any media house deserves criticism. The Ministry has repeatedly tried to tell the media what to do, banning those whom it considers 'immoral.' If not for the resilience of these media corporations and their determination to staying Independent pillars of democracy, the free media would most certainly have been gagged.

Amazingly, the Minister himself appears to be very camera shy, giving only a few interviews and participating in no debates at all! That, compared to his predecessor Sushma Swaraj (BJP), is a bad sign. 

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
General Performance: Bad

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