Is the chief of Reliance Industries Limited Mukesh Ambani a threat to Indian Media Industry? Senior journalist P Sainath certainly thinks so. His speech at the Mumbai Collective initiative has been trending online in which P Sainath can be heard criticising the state of affairs in media today and stating that in close to five years, Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries will own all the journalists in India. He believes that corporatization of media is the worst possible thing to happen to the industry as corporate giants enter the field with vested interests and with the sole aim of generating revenue.
Sainath points out that the largest network in country happens to be Network 18 which is owned by Mukesh Ambani. Apart from that he also owns most of the channels of the ETV network except the Telugu channel. And this is not all. The commercial interest of the corporate houses is pretty evident in the content of the news channels.
The trend in the last 20 something years has been that the corporates that “own and control media have been the biggest beneficiaries of neoliberalism and privatisation of public resources,” he said.
The result has been that mainstream media has not seen a single big expose coming from these big media houses in the past 10 years. The likes of Assange and Wikileaks, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, who are not journalists, have made the biggest exposes in the world.
It took the man who had exposed the corrupt in 2001 with his Operation Westend for an independent news website Tehelka, to come up with the next biggest expose in India. Mathew Samuel had to launch another independent news portal Narada News and publish the sting operation X Files revealing the corrupt faces of Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress in the state of West Bengal.
With big corporates controlling what information reaches people, they are successfully changing the course of history.