The IAC / Anna Hazare movement: created by the media? I dont think so
(Updated on 6th Jan: survey report) (A very balanced approach in the above article: the best pick I have found on this topic)

The blog that drew my attention:

(The above is one of the most famous blogs from India - Churumuri/Sans Serif)

There are 2 sides to every coin. Similarly, stating that Anna Hazare was a media creation is akin to megalomania on the part of the media. At best, the Media might have played a pivotal role in his rise to fame. That much is far too obviously true, beyond any shade of doubt. It was the media that introduced him and brought him to each and every home.

The other side: Anna Hazare is part of a consortium of reasonably powerful people - or at least  people who have experienced power, and have worked in the government at high levels like Kiran Bedi, Kejriwal etc. There are other influential backers as well as a coordinated effort going on - almost an organisation. There was plenty of evidence of planning, coordinated thought and effort, a strategic approach and the road work put in by team Anna. This is further evident in their statements, the very fact that finance was arranged smoothly at every turn, the planned net-savvy approach, the brand building of IAC etc. Further, it is also possible that media interest was created by the IAC organisation, which is pretty media-savvy. Not only that, Anna Hazare was already a well known campaigner against corruption albeit on a local level (A detail of the IAC organisation)

But the clincher: the turnout and the support of the masses, the way the effort went viral on the net, the mass base enjoyed by the IAC movement, the overall frustration of the people - especially the middle and the lower middle class - belie the claims of the media. As per my memory (correct me if I am wrong) the net campaign pre-dates the media furore. And, to re-iterate: the mass support brought out people who never ventured out of the comfort of their homes - engineers, doctors, businessmen etc. A lot of road work was put in the the India Against Corruption movement: Kiran Bedi, Kejriwal, the Bhushans to name but a few. The list of associated people include people from all walks of life, as well as some eminent personalities.

This point cannot be overstated: the white collar worker was rarely a visible part of mass movements. In the IAC campaign - or Anna Hazare campaign if you will - these professionals were the one on the streets. I personally know of a production manager who had taken leave and had taken part with wife and kids in the campaign. We have seen innumerable examples of unconnected professionals who have taken leave - people from as far away as USA - who came all the way to attend.

Yes, the Media's role is and has been important, but let us not get carried away and state that the Media has created IAC / Anna Hazare. Here, in my opinion, the Media has played an activist role perhaps for the first time. Media has 3 major functions - Entertainment, News and Analysis. I think that here, the media has added the 4th role that it should have been playing - leading change. However, the commercial aspect cannot be forgotten - there are commercial decisions, toplines and bottomlines to care about - and corruption sells especially in the current mood of the nation. It is also possible that the media has placed its finger on the pulse of the people, and is concentrating on what sells. Perhaps, it is a bit of both that is involved

Media -leading change, or reporting what sells? Or Both? OnlyTime will tell...


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