Friday, December 03, 2010

P. Sainath on the Banana Peel Republic

P. Sainath in this morning's Hindu:

Whether it is gas, spectrum, or mining, luxury private townships or other dubious land deals, the last 20 years have seen the consolidation of corporate power on a scale unknown in independent India. It would be wrong to disconnect the Radia tapes from this background. From pitching for licences, mines and spectrum using money and media power to pitching for ministerial candidates and portfolios by the same methods is not a huge leap. The same period has also seen the emergence of media themselves as major corporate entities. Today, we often have seamless movement between the personnel of some economic or financial newspapers and non-media corporations. An assistant editor goes off to Company ‘A' as a PRO, returns in a more senior post to the same newspaper. Next, goes on as chief PRO, or maybe even as chief analyst or a business manager to a bigger corporate. But the newspaper's door is open for his or her return, perhaps as resident editor.

The dominant media are not pro-corporate or pro-big business. They are corporates. They are big business. Some have margins of profit that non-media outfits might envy. Media corporations are into hundreds of businesses beyond their own realm. From real estate, hotels, mining, steel, chemicals, rubber and banks to power and sugar. Even into private treaties with other corporations in whom they acquire a stake. On the boards of India's biggest media companies are also top corporate leaders. Some who find places on the Governor's Forums of the World Economic Forum. Others heading private banks. And then there are top political leaders who directly own vast media empires. Who can hold ministerial portfolios (affecting these domains) while running their media fiefdoms. The dominant media are not pro-establishment. They are the establishment.
 Indeed. It's the perspective we needed after a week when everyone seemed to decide collectively that the Radia tapes were about a few individual journalists.


km said...

Will India ever get its Jon Stewart?

jogender said...

in this case what the writer means by banana peel in the context of banana republic. plz clarify it yaar..and whats link with media ?

JP said...

Excellent piece, although surely the schadenfreude in the last few days was inevitable and may even have been a healthy thing.

Space Bar said...

of course, on the other hand, the hindu spiked sevanti ninan's column on sunday. read it on the hoot.