” The sort of things that are working against him (journalists) are the concentration of the press in the hands of a few rich men, the grip of monopoly on radio and the films…….”
Any guesses as to when these lines were written. This was written in 1946 by George Orwell in his essay “The Prevention of literature” and he was meaning this for his country Britain.
And here we are in 21st Century and totally different country India and these lines are quite relevant and meaningful today as well.
Today in our country television has become the mainstream media but if we see the ownership patterns of leading media houses, it quite evident that there are few rich men controlling them. Network 18 that runs CNBC-TV18, CNBC Awaaz, CNBC-TV18 Prime HD, CNN-IBNand IBN7 is a subsidiary of Reliance Industries. Its not just news but the spread is across all kinds of content from popular TV channels to digital content. The span is huge. There has been lot of news about the unsecured loan that was given to NDTV through a chain of holding companies and there may be a link to RIL again. Newslaundry did a very nice infographics sometime back that give ideas of who owns media . All this is evidence and supports what Orwell was talking about in his times.
Movies in India has always been a closed coterie and very few outsiders have been able to break that. Even today if we look at “Best Debut Actor” for different years there may be a great deal of chance of someone from the coterie has got it. The kind of movies that are made and make money is a different story all together. Probably, there its the audience who decides that fate but at least movie seeing the limelight depends on so many players that belong to the coterie tightly controlled.
Censor board that screens the movies for suitability of larger audience is again a bureaucratic government organization and I still wonder how Raj Kapoor was able to pass scenes from his movies which may be difficult to get passed through the eyes of Censor board even today. This video done by Pahlaj Nihalani, current head of Censor Board, may give a little more idea to anyone with regards its workings.
Anyways this thought came to my mind when I was reading Orewell’s Shooting an Elephant and Other Essays and was quite surprised to see things that world had seen in those days hasn’t changed much for us, probably because we are same people just that there has been changes to outside world in terms of technology and globalization.
If only we learn from those times and difficult situations that the mankind had already seen, probably we can stop them to reoccur but this doesn’t seem to be the case 🙂