Barkha Dutt believes the real news still has the capacity for changing things
Prominent Indian journalist Barkha Dutt believes that the mainstream media is losing its influence over people these days.
Speaking one-to-one with Sadaf Saaz, one of the directors of Dhaka Lit fest (DlF) at a DLF program titled ‘The Unquiet Land’, she said that because of the advent of technologies, the media landscape has changed.
“I can see people having a mobile phone in a selfie stick, a digital tape recorder, a good wi-fi connection doing journalism now and it will only increase in the future,” she said.
“But the real difference with that sort of journalism and the real one lies with the research. You have to have a profound understanding of the news context and historical background to produce news that matters.”
“I believe that the demand for real news will be there.”
Dutt, who just came back from the US after covering the recent presidential elections, however said that the election was an example of diminishing media influence over people. “Media didn’t matter in shaping people’s idea about who to vote for. Almost all of the mainstream media grilled Trump, yet he prevailed.”
She said that misogyny played a big part in Hillary’s defeat.
“The truth is politics is not gender neutral. I read an article today about the recent meeting of Melania Trump and Michelle Obama. It was about their attires and how fashionable they were. I didn’t find any such article about Donald Trump and Barack Obama’s recent meeting.”
She said that even the language that was being used in the media about Hillary’s campaign included phrases like “She seems cold” or “She doesn’t smile enough”.
“I was studying in Columbia University in New York when Bill Clinton was running his campaign for President. I cannot remember such phrases were being used for Bill.’
She said that gender is something which she feels very strongly about. “All of us want to be known for our work, not for our gender.”
“I am very open about being a feminist. I think feminism has a very simple definition. It is about freedom of who you want to be.”
Dutt who has often been coined as anti-nationalist in India told the audience in the DLF that she is a free-thinker and a big part of Indian society still has a problem with accepting freethinkers.
“As much as I am criticised for my works, I am also praised. Criticism and praise are two sides of the same coin. You shouldn’t take both seriously. Ignoring people sometime is the most powerful counter that you can give. If you are truthful to your work, then you know what you are doing.”