Why Bengal media's 2016 election coverage is disappointing

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As West Bengal witnesses a heated election to its Assembly, the state's media is playing a role which is far from being fair. Just like the parties contesting this election, the local media is also polarised and their coverage has left many unconvinced.

Assembly Polls 2016 Coverage; Updates of Bengal Phase 4

Anti-TMC media house is finding everything bad with Mamata

One big media house of Bengal has taken such an obvious anti-Trinamool Congress (TMC) stand that its coverage has turned out to be a farce. It is true that Mamata Banerjee's administration has not performed up to the expectations in many respect but this particular media house has made the anti-incumbency into its daily bread-earner without giving fair journalism any chance.


"Trinamool accused" is mentioned or telecast in almost all poll-related violence stories that the dailies and television channels of this media house is carrying. [Morphed Rajnath-Karat photo: Does TMC lack common sense?]

And on the top of it, this media house is also laying a big emphasis on the electoral tie-up between the Opposition Congress and Left Front when the fact is this tie-up has not been as strong in many parts of the state. Its channels telecast debates where several members of the Left and Congress appear everyday but only a handful of academic who are nothing but sycophants of Banerjee's party represent the ruling party. In the grossly imbalanced debates that follow, the ruling party is regularly bashed. [Phase 4: It's do-or-die for BJP]

The TMC might have boycotted this channel but then the one-sided debates make little sense apart from feeding the senses of the urban classes who have always disliked a subaltern Mamata Banerjee. This elitist media house, which had taken an overwhelmingly pro-Banerjee stand in 2011 after sensing the historic outcome, has taken a convenient U-turn this time.

This media house is showing everything concerning TMC in negative lights which is not right. Corruption is a big issue but not certainly the only one in the state's politics as this media group is projecting.

Pro-TMC media group is showing unconfirmed news in favour of TMC

There are also other houses who are covering this election in an equally biased manner. In the third phase of the election on April 21 when one CPI(M) supporter was killed in violence in Domkol in Murshidabad, a district where the Congress and the Left are the main competitors, the anti-Mamata media found a big opportunity to make the noise even bigger.

Towards the end of the day in that phase, one media channel known to be pro-establishment this time, broke a news saying one TMC supporter was allegedly killed in another constituency in the same Murshidabad district. Hence, both sides had one casualty during the day. Is the media there to square scores like in a football match? Two wrongs certainly don't make a right.

This biased coverage has made the ongoing election in Bengal even more unconvincing. The anti-establishment media is leaving no stone unturned to see Mamata Banerjee lose by feeding the frustrated urban middle-class. The pro-TMC media, on the other hand, is countering that tendency in whatever way it can.

For the serious followers of the state's politics, it's a real sham.

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