Explosive growth of the regional print media is a phenomenon that all of us should vigorously welcome for multifarious reasons. First and foremost it will contribute to dismantling the hegemony of conceited, elitist Delhi media which is neither diverse in its social composition, ideological predilection or political affiliation. Delhi media homogeneity has resulted in perpetuation of a tyrannical left of centre consensus plus a subliminal political propaganda both done under the garb of framing an enlightened narrative.
We have a preponderance of upper class, upper caste, ‘secularized’, anglicized metropolitan elite in Delhi media that is deeply disdainful of subaltern, Indic forces. Given this reality of Delhi media demographics, vernacularisation of democratic discourse will help native nationalists participate more meaningfully in construction of narrative that resonates with Bharat. Traditional social groups outside the power structure, generally better represented in the regional media, will get to have a better say in the opinion formation and making process ensuring that their aspiration are taken in to account. Consequently the debates in our democracy will be more participative and inclusive. Expansion of regional media will be a welcome correction to shameful aberration of handful of know-all Delhi elites usurping the intellectual high ground and styling themselves as dispensers of wisdom
Regional media also has a relatively better understanding of ground realities while Delhi media continues to inhabit a make-believe intellectual land. Take any of the great movements of independent India -Ram Janbhabhoomi movement to Mandalisation movement to Ramdev’s sterling struggle against corruption to Hazare’s reguard Gandhianism. Regional media not only picked up the undercurrents but also played a significant role in engaging with and shaping these movement . The increasingly irrelevant Delhi media watched along helplessely
Regional media’s increased dominance in the media lansdcape will also lead to better localization of news. While uppity mediabarbies of Delhi can keep deciphering the sartorial symbolism that Priyanka Gandhi seeks to convey when she turns out in a certain attire to the parliament, a regional media outlet would certainly be expected to more sensitive about the flood relief effort in a remote district.
Its pertinent that under the heydays of Nehruvian Stalinism, when the centralized state occupied the commanding heights of economic activity, Delhi media was all powerful . Now that the fulcrum of power is shifting back to the states, regional media is beginning to dominate.
Given the increased importance of regional media, the part 2 of our survey seeks to understand the regional media landscape. CRI MediaWatch team would like to thank research team comprising Vijay,Gopi,Swarup,Nikhil,Bhaskar and Sudhir for managing the survey for us. The deep expertise that they possess in media landscape analysis was truly instrumental in successful of this project and gives us confidence that we can embark on many such exercises in the future