BY Harsimran Kaur ON July 21 , 2021 IN BOOK REVIEWS, POWER, PRESS AND POLITICS/ALOK MEHTA/NON-FICTION
The book “Power, Press and Politics” is a mirror to a life incomprehensible by the common man – a life full of valour, predicaments, back-breaking choices and a permissible power to call spade a spade.
Welcome to the world of journalism through the eyes of Alok Mehta, a revered journalist and a Padma Shri awardee. His contribution to journalism is bulked with path-breaking revelations, a nose of news and an unflinching dare to stick to the righteous. His noble attempt to bring forth the ubiquitous press maligned by political and corporate power is a search for a cohesive protection system for the journalist. The life of a reporter or editor is conceivable as an information agent but in actual parlance, it goes beyond the research and news tract.
The book exposes the abstract power used fashionably by the political patriots to have their dish served hot. The politicians are at the mercy of the press during elections, communal dystopia and peripatetic travels to make their vendettas deem punctilious. For putting the screw at the right place, the press sometimes goes through unrealistic political pressures, a labyrinth of polarized views destroying the actual facts and the wrath of the media giants. Alok Mehta has assiduously showcased the anomalous situation of the media. He extensively talks about the illustrious careers of some of the renowned editors like, Arun Shourie, M.J.Akbar and Kuldip Nayar, and how they had to bite the dust due to their reliable objectivity and unequivocal ideologies abhorred by the stentorian lot.
The showstopper is the portion on Investigative Journalism. From the Bofors Scandal to the Human Trafficking Scam, screeching the breaks at the Fodders Scam and the Tehelka operation, the reality bites are a dream to read. The gallantry showed by the reporters to find the needle in the haystack is simply applaudable. Nevertheless, the abrasive prick in the eye is the culture of “Paid News” impenitently celebrated by some journalist and few political bureaus. It’s a love-hate relationship as Alok Mehta has appropriately designated. The reporter may cudgel the politician to advance money to highlight its pomp and pageantry. On the flip side, some political masters, to avoid implications on their negligence, may hire the prospect of filling the coffers of the journalist. It’s a vicious circle putting an end to freedom of reliable news.
The press is also susceptible to violent attacks for their opinions and highlighting the true canvas of despicable acts. Bitter memories are linked to carnages like demolition of Babri Masjid and Godhra riots.
Press is idiosyncratic to its own judgements and opinions. Any intermittent boil is bound to create bubbles and parch the skin. The whole idea of the book is to give press the freedom to operate as it is responsible to bring across to its citizens how their country fares. Power, Press and Politics is a prodigious display of political shams and ignominy, media as a game changer, and the media barons who tend to camouflage their own discretions.