Bheemaiah Krishnan Ravi’s book stays true to its title, highlighting the importance of the media in shaping a democracy and the limitations on its power.
Bheemaiah Krishnan Ravi’s “Modern Media, Elections and Democracy” is a comprehensive analysis of the role that modern media plays, and should play, to ensure a well-functioning democracy, especially during elections. Beginning with a discussion on the relationship between modern media and society, the book goes on to discuss the role of media in elections, both historically and geographically.
The book would be useful not only for proponents of democracy but also aspiring journalists as it makes them aware of the huge responsibility they have in upholding a transparent and accountable democracy.
The author brings to light the huge power of the media and the ways in which it impacts popular perception. International in its approach, he discusses, contrasts and analyses the role media has played in giving people a voice and bringing about revolutions in different countries of the world. Further, by analyzing the case of Narender Modi specifically, the author elaborates on the role that social media can play in impacting the popular image of politicians.
Ravi also spends a significant portion of the book discussing the various factors which restrict the power of the media. For this purpose, he discusses legal suits, case studies as well as different kinds of media ownership and the resulting problems thereof. The book also discusses, in detail, the forgotten responsibility of the media to educate the masses, the influence that media has on people, and the ethics that media personnel must follow, especially during election coverage. It further discusses the pressures that journalists might face while covering elections. This pressure might come from political parties, a professional stakeholder, a superior or the government, and can only be countered by relying on ethical principles and moral values.
The role of a free, independent and ethical media is undeniable in any democracy. I believe “Modern Media, Elections, and Democracy” is well-timed and covers various important topics concerning the media, its power, the limitations on its power, and ethical considerations that must be taken into account. The book does a good job reminding the media of its power and the responsibility it has towards the people as well as the role it is playing in expanding political pluralism. The book, however, is quite repetitive, discussing the same topics more than once. For example, the topic ‘Media and Elections’ appears numerous times. Apart from this, the book I believe in an important addition to the existing literature on the nexus between media and democracy and the importance of a free media in ensuring a healthy democracy. Profuse headings and sub-headings make the book a user-friendly tool for quick and easy reference.
S Y Quraishi is former Chief Election Commissioner of India.