Read to learn about the rise of the so-called “B and D” media and its impact on shaping the common person’s views.
It is a common tendency to accept news at face value, and why not? These are ‘reputable’ publishing and media houses with iconic anchors and editors who answer the questions that ‘the nation wants to know’. Why then, has the rude label of ‘B and D’ been slapped onto these diligent harbingers of truth who work so hard to expose ‘anti-nationals’ from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) and University of Delhi (DU) every night at 9? The term ‘B and D Media’ is an Indian twist to the term American term ‘Yellow Journalism’ coined in the mid-1980s to describe the sensational journalism in the circulation war between Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World and William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal. Yellow Journalism is often characterised by bold headlines, eye-catching graphics, controversial and sensational pieces with little or no research or fact-checking.
While all this seems awfully familiar, a large part of the Indian Journalism suffers from the additional nuisance of being politically aligned to a particular organisation or party and serving as a platform to amplify their message. While there still exist voices of reason who serve the mission of serving the unbiased truth, the large part of Indian has been consumed by this ‘B and D’ tendency.
While the headlines and stories that these outlets run are often laughable and ridiculous at best, there still exists a large number of individuals who assume that the media is an infallible and consume this information without as much a quick ‘Google Search’.
This brings us to a juncture where criticism is seen as ‘anti-national’ and challenging the very country itself. Here is where the main problem presents arises. When people being to equate a political party to India itself and it questioning the political party is seen to be synonymous to questioning the country, the very core principles of our Constitution begins to break down. We have begun to take a plunge into an ‘Orwellian State’ where democracy is non-existent and the very idea of opposition is seen as ridiculous and every single action of the state is seen to be faultless with opposing political views seen as a threat to the country and cast away. Making matters only worse is the peddling of fake news through India’s favourite and most accurate media platform, ‘WhatsApp’ where forwards are often seen to carry hateful, communal, discriminatory, dangerous or simply inaccurate information. While I love my country and take pride in singing the National Anthem, I find it difficult to accept that UNESCO voted our National Anthem as the best in the world or that the new Rs. 2000 notes contain micro-GPS chips.
This brings us to the question, ‘Why should I care?’ Well, this much more than an opportunity to make memes. Our entire freedom may be at stake and it may soon be impossible to ask questions or hold the government accountable giving it unchecked power to rule the country to their liking while suppressing anyone who dares deviate in opinion. Even if you support the current regime and may feel safe right now, it is only a matter of time before they come for you and the things you take for granted. Soon they will come for you too and divide the population and cement their leadership by force while thinning the line between reality and fiction with the media under their control. It’s about time we stop encouraging this ‘B and D Media’ and call them out while empowering and promoting real journalism that is still in a fight to bring you the truth.
Feature Image Credits: Chhavi Bahmba for DU Beat.
Tashi Dorjay Sherpa