Daily Archives: 5 October 2008

Why Indian netas dislike being probed on camera

CNN-IBN editor-in-chief Rajdeep Sardesai on IBNlive.com:

“Why are so many of our top politicians uncomfortable with the idea of being questioned on television?

“Partly it is a reflection of a feudal and non-transparent political system that doesn’t feel the necessity to explain policy choices in an open forum. Unfortunately, unlike in the United States, television appearances have little connection with political winnability in the Indian context. With caste and family identities defining success in polls, communication skills seem to matter less and less. It is no coincidence that some of the finest public speakers in Indian politics are in the Rajya Sabha and not the Lok Sabha….

“In a way, Indian electoral politics has defined the limits of the power of television. While a spirited television debate can energise a section of the urban middle-class audience, it cannot reach the wider electorate, many of whom would rather be watching their favourite soap than listening to political arguments. Moreover, in a multi-lingual country, it is difficult to create a “national” constituency through a strong television presence.”

Read the full article: Television, for politicians with a vision