Sunday, Jul 03, 2022

Punjab’s New Media: A Story Of Avoiding The Mundane

Much of the Punjab assembly polls were fought on new media outlets. It was another matter that these proliferating outlets rarely added value to the discourse

Tower of Babel
Tower of Babel Tower of Babel

It was while I was covering the Punjab asse­mbly elections that a discussion with a you­ng man of Jethuke village in Bath­inda district, Harmandeep Singh, drew my attention to the new phenomena—a proliferation of small-time, independent Punjabi-language media outlets. I was already witness to how the Trol­ley Times had invigorated the farmers’ agitation in Delhi. Here I noticed how people were not only keeping an eye on mainstream TV and newspapers, but also monitoring the tech-driven new media—that, incidentally, also claimed to be an alternative media.

On that morning of on February 16, Harmandeep said: “The new Punjabi media emerged recently during the farmers’ movement. But with elections appro­aching, they have started copying mainstream cha­n­nels. Instead of raising grassroots issues, their programming revolves around election rallies and candidate-interviews, like mainstream TV news.”