Managing public perception

ToI dated 27th December has 3 big headline news.

1)Central govt initiating probe againt ‘snoopgate’ controversy

2)Metropolitan court effectively giving clean chit to Narendra Modi

3)Adarsh related news.

Any news related to Modi is huge considering how obsessed the media is with him. Earlier negative news against him have been splashed around. Would have been inreresting to see how the headline would have been structured had the case gone against him. This news although front page shares space with the others with the first news item in bold.

Now anything that a lame duck government does should and correctly so be discounted and relegated to the back pages. But this item appears alongside a major news item and too in bold thus attaching the same importance as the other and in the process diluting the other.

These are subtle yet so very powerful differences which i am sure is discussed at length by the editorials team. 

Modi related story concerns killings in the gulbarga society during 2002 riots. The metropolitan court has shot down a petition by the window of ex – Cong mla ehsan jaffri to junk SC appointed SIT which found no wrong doing by Modi. The court says the foll:

– No evience prima facie agsinst Modi

– Events not serious enough to be called as ” ethnic cleansing and genocide”

– Godhra train burning not a conspiracy by Modi & Co.

– Called the army on time

– Police was deployed and if required curfew was clamped. He addressed people and appealed for peace through Doordarshan.

– No derecliction of duty on part of Modi.

– IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt’s testimony has been junked as being “untrustworthy”.

– Endorses the Supreme Court appointed SIT report which stated that Modi took steps in a short time to bring situation under control. 

The above remarks by court are huge and a stinging rebuke to the nay sayers who have been parroting motivated statements against one person without evidence. The case has drawn enormous amount of attention and is probably India‘s most high profile riot case. Other riot cases are sadly gathering dust anf nobody cares. If only the UPA govt shows interest interest in reviving those then it would earn goodwill of the people.

Congress losing 4 state elections has made it all the more desperate. Taking modi headon on governance or economics would be a lose lose proposition. So raking old events and raising phoney issues is their last chance.

This case is moving and rightly so towards closure. Over the years there have been convictions, even ministers have been prosecuted. I believe no other riots case has had it.

Riots are a sad reality of modern india which need to be dealt with strongly. Media have a responsibility of reporting news as it is. However, nowadays lines have blurred. They need to careful or else would lose credibility in their over enthusiasm to act as arbitrator. Credibility is the only thing it has on its side.



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