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Re: Is India a model Democracy?



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On Sun, 31 Dec 2000 vamsi@siliconcorp.com wrote:
 What I would like to know is how the Government expects to produce
 quality regional news better than the regional FM stations which are
 empowered to do so?  In essence, the population remains under the strict
 control of the center while they remain ignorant of regional concerns
 which are more important for local democratic institutions to function
 efficiently.

On the other hand, what too about the irresponsible folks handling the
private-sector Newsrooms and Newspapers, who make (and I suppose
deliberately) events as News, without going into any analyses/syntheses
whatsoever. Nepal in the immediate time, and almost all violent histories
earlier, were as much m-a-d-e by the reckless media as by the actors
there. Yes, the media has become the message today. And it's horrendous.
If we are any the wiser, its seems eminently right for a government to
establish a regulatory system when it comes to News and Reports, on
FM Networks.  

The point is very obvious: FM is LOCAL and INSTANTANEOUS. And there's no
positive social welfare in CurrentAffairs on FM. "News and Current
Affairs". That's where the problem of handling time gets in. And the
private-sector Information-Disseminators have every short-term incentive
to abuse it. Mind you, reporting on the Kashmir fiasco since in the 90s is
not CurrentAffairs for the FMs, but what they might do is to tell you that
40 people got bombed in Doda district two minutes ago. Tell me what's the
USE of this information, except perhaps, other circumstances contributing,
it might flare up the town, Doda, and maybe soon Delhi and Dadar. There's
no positive social welfare.
 
I suppose we can distinguish the products that Information-Disseminators
provide, in terms of the time-scale and apply regulation there. It's
what the government is trying to do.

The reasoning is quite obvious, I wonder why the debate. The simple tale
below is not necessary, but for the record.

I think there's very little *USE* (and therefore VALUE), for instant news
to a citizen who is quite removed from the point of action and whose loss
in value is perhaps in the long run. And in the long run, not only are we
all dead but also the system gets back in valuable shape (we either
believe in the capacity of a system to drive itself to greater welfare or
we nuke ourselves morrow; there's no rationale in believing the system is
rotting and one continuing to exist without doing. Sometimes doing lies in
not-doing.). So, say, if a bunch of lunatic jains and lunatic buddhists
are killing each other in a locality in Bangalore, at 3.15 p.m., it is of
no value for anybody to know it *instantly*, and the Bangalore TimesFM
shouldn't like to report it, and yet it will if allowed. Because it can
cash in my (probable) weakness to ill-transcend time. It can cash in the
geographics, the demographics, the economics, etc. and do such
instantaneous reports that are profitable over time for itself. It's an
active explosive. Probably it's not an explosive at all. Who KNOWS ? The
EQUAL possibility justifies the regulation. If the producers were to
somehow inform the constituency that they are all
ever-and-do-gooders-for-all-time-to-come then perhaps the regulation is
not required. Well the word itself exists because the other thing doesn't
or is atleast presumed not to exist.

In the instance if the FM does report the CurrentAffairs at that 3.15 p.m.
I cannot *instantly* call up my MLA and tell him to get the government to
put it out *instantly*, nor can I *instantly* DO anything about it as a
lone individual. I can DO something by being deaf to the instant news
however and not contribute to the gory melee. (of course let's not assume
the FM can reach where the local police station cannot; and if it did, the
FM ought to be getting the News to the police and not the shopkeeper ten
mile away.) It DOES NOT contribute anything, except more sales to those
producers. And no, violence (or conflicts, and actually everything since
everything that needs a report implies there is a conflict somewhere) is
an externality that should not be allowed to profit an individual at the
cost to the community. I will however value a thorough report later in the
week or fortnight or the month or the year that will *enable* me to DO
something. I will expect it to be a nonpartisan report (not just
non-government), if I support a good democrasy.


Thanks for you patience.

Padmanabha Rao




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