It happens every other day in India. Raids by some branch of law enforcement : police, CBI, ED, IT sleuths on some individual or some business. Jewellers get raided, factories and their owners get raided. Politicians and industrialists get raided. Film stars and cricket players get raided.
So why does it matter if a raid happens on NDTV? Why is the reaction different? Here are just two samples.
Why such extreme rhetoric? No, Mr. Praveen Swami, the last time this sort of thing happened was probably last week. Check local news reports from all across our vast nation. I am sure you will find that some business owner or executive was raided by police during the last week.
In fact, such raids have probably happened somewhere or the other in the country on every single working day for last several decades. And Indian democracy is doing just fine.
But that’s probably not what Praveen Swami had in mind. He was talking about businesses that sell a very specific product : news.
If a jeweller or shopkeeper is raided by law enforcement, it’s not an assault on democracy. If you raid a newstrader, only then is it an assault on democracy. Huh. Why?
The media would probably chafe at the term “newstrader”, as if it is some kind of insult. What’s wrong with being a trader? Business creates wealth. If only Nehru and his descendants had understood this simple fact, they would not have led us into a four decade long disaster of aligning with the wrong side of history.
But no, the media looks down on the word “trader”. In an attitude that can only be described as Brahmanical, the media claims to live in some higher intellectual heaven. What they sell is more than just a product, it is some kind of divine prasad that we should be eternally grateful for.
I checked. According to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, there are over 15 lakh registered companies in India. NDTV is just one of them. Nothing more, nothing less.
If media in general and/or NDTV in particular has a heightened sense of self, or some sense of entitlement, that is their problem. You know, like this :
No, NDTV you are not an “institution of India”. You are just one of the 15 lakh + companies in the country. Get over yourself.
The same sense of entitlement operates when you see conventional media bash the social media. The most common technique is to dismiss social media as “trolls” and the most common smear is to call them “misogynist”. Well, this Prime Minister has always used social media to get his message out. And on social media, his every word is scrutinised and dissected and examined in a way conventional media never could.
Again, if the conventional media thinks that a handful of their media workers could do a better job than the collective intelligence of the masses, it is really their problem. Technology has always gotten rid of low skilled jobs and it may just be the turn of the old media.
In short, media is a business. Privately owned. Privately operated. Be prepared to operate within the same system as every other business. I can’t believe they expected anything else.