Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Some Reflections on the Backdrop of Newspaper Barons' Campaign against Newspaper Agents

Newspapers agents are on strike in Kerala demanding hike in their remuneration. And the newspapers baron are out there to counter this strike and they are roping so the called intellectuals and film stars for this. On this occasion  Socialist Platform is publishing this E Mail received from a reader
In these cursed times anything can be expressed only through the metaphor of the market.  “When grandmas started looking at the ticker, it was time to get out from the market” -- still, this is a popular saying in Wall Street, the Mecca of speculation, has assumed a significant resonance in Kerala. The similarity begins with the ongoing strike by newspaper agents and the media barons in the state.        
When newspaper barons start speaking about “the right of the readers” isn’t time to quit newspapers and look at something more meaningful? When have you heard such crap from the media barons? As the strike by news paper vendors demanding increase in the commission passed more than 10 days press barons in the state has unleashed a mass hysteria projecting the striking vendors as some kind of monsters depriving the freedom of expression and democratic right of the readers.      
The television channel controlled by Manorama has been in the forefront of the campaign championing the cause of the readers and has drummed up the support of the so called ‘civil society’ in the state which in a way is a clear expression how fickle minded can be the personalities of civil society. The way they have rallied behind Manroma is reminiscent of the way the same class became obedient mouthpieces for Mrs Indira Gandhi during emergency. Now we have spectacle of MGS Narayanan, PS Sreedharan Pillai, MK Sanu joining hands at different places with a slew of film stars providing what is now known as the much needed ‘glamour quotient’ to the ‘event ’.
The right wing hysteria in the name of ‘right of the reader’ is strikingly similar to the onslaught launched by Ronald Reagan when he went against the air traffic controllers strike in US and mine and rail workers in UK by Margaret Thatcher. Today, we know that it was the harbinger of what is called the neo-liberalism or the complete shifting of the wealth to the rich from the poor. The right wing propaganda has to be countered by all the progressive forces not because the news paper agents are beacons of virtue and fairness. But, their lament for a decent commission is much more justified compared with the arrogance of media barons who brooks no opposition to hegemony of the capital.  

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