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Sunday, December 16 Black & White

Lets have a glance at what our leading Malayalam daily perceived as the most important news each day last week.

CM and Finance Minister targets bureaucracy(Dec 16)
CPI & Munnar land(Dec 15)
Rice from Andhra(Dec 14)
The Aravana issue in Sabarimala(11th & 13th Dec)
The Pathibel affair(Dec 12)
Lavlin sub company & Panniyar(Dec 10)

Contemporary and primary social issues of Kerala, is it not? Wait a minute! Scan those news reports a bit closely, and here emerges the picture which is all too familiar for us...Those news are nothing but desperate attempts by the newspaper to bash Kerala's ruling left front, a role they have performed admirably from 1956. They try their best to carry out their hidden(now well understood) agendum, and mind you, they are doing well! Makeshift headlines, just for the sake of it. That sums up Kerala journalism for you.

You may argue that these are better times when compared to the Karunakarn-Antony-Chandy battles, Kunjalikkutty's ice cream, Kilirur, Kaviyoor and the never- ending list of sex scandals,which our media thought were most important. As a result the real woes faced by Kerala society always remained under the heap. While our neighbouring states moved ahead at break-neck speed in attracting investment, generating employment, improving public amenities and infrastructure, elevating the standards of living and eliminating issues relating poverty, all we managed to do is drive out potential investors, close down functional industrial units, increase unemployment and lamenting that we missed this bus, next bus and last bus...But who cares? We are still interested in ice creams, rotten scandals and antics of comical political leaders and stories about their nomadic voyages from one party to the next..and next...and next...No wonder the press too goes after such tales.

I remember an episode when I was In Karnataka. Bangalore was lobbying to get Central aid for its Metro Rail, and Mr. H. D. Dewe Gowda made some allegations against the project. He was claiming that a Metro would take the charm out of the historic avenues, it is economically non viable, sky bus is more appropriate bla bla bla...The majority of print media immediately came against the former Prime Minister, ridiculing his idiotic statements. Newspapers carried headings such as "Now Gowda halts Metro Rail" ,"Oh no! Not again Mr. Gowdä" and so on. Today, the project is well and truly on its track. The power of the pen used for constructive purposes... What if it was in Kerala? Another 5 years down the drain, for sure. That day in Kerala, newspapers were toiling hard to establish that Dubai Internet City was a private real estate agent, because the then Opposition leader V. S. Achuthanandan imagined so!

The attitude of the Kerala people and press needs some serious revamp. We have no new roads, but that's fine, the existing ones are little better than lunar surface. We don't want Expressways because it will divide our State into two, like how our country got divided into India & Pakistan. Our youth are forced to depend on neighbouring states to earn a living and even for higher studies, but whats the big deal, we still have 100% literacy! We managed to donate prestigious institutes like IIT to TamilNadu, and here we are still pushing hard to repeat the story with IIST.(Alas! We may not manage to drive them out because VSSC is situated in Kerala) Our railway divisions and projects are getting axed one by one, projects like Fashion Cities, Car Manufacturing units, Metro Rail, Seaport projects are dead & buried or still at the starting point after many years. And latest is that our Capital's International Airport is now controlled by Chennai! That's our sad state of affairs...But anyone worried?

The chairman of one of our leading dailies have openly accepted that he is anti-development.(over the expressway issue). Our numero uno daily has even more important business as explained at the beginning, even though they claim to be pro-development. Among the other popular print media one is cent percent political-party owned and others have religious and community agenda in the forefront. But they all have one thing in common: Failure to address and tackle the development issues of our state.

All these picture a very disturbing scene. A society too deeply obsessed by petty politics, regionalism, scandals and out-dated ideologies, and a media tailormade for them. Apart from a lone report on Smart City or Vallarpadom Terminal, there has been very few honest efforts by the media to highlight and carry the progressive thoughts and attitudes into the public. A drastic change is inevitable for our survival...Will it happen?

Im hopeful, anyway.

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