Dileep Padgaonkar casts doubts over filtering system of new IT-driven media

Senior journalist Dileep Padgaonkar on Wednesday wondered if the country was geared to face emerging threats arising from the lack of filters in the new IT-driven media, which, unlike traditional mainstream media, are susceptible to attacks from sea and cyberspace.

Speaking on the topic of “Emerging Trends in Indian Politics” at the annual Advocate Pandurang Mulgaonkar memorial lecture series here on Wednesday, Mr. Padgaonkar said the country would need to have antennae for the new threats.

“A single SMS or a single video uploaded on the net can kill hundreds of people or create panic beyond imagination,” Mr. Padgaonkar said.

‘Opportunities, threats’

Observing that technologies brought in opportunities as well as threats, the senior journalist lamented that the country’s systems were geared neither to milk the opportunities nor to counter the threats.

Mr. Padgaonkar noted that upgrading of mechanisms to tackle these new threats needed foresight.

He said that in the mainstream media in the country “you have certain amount of filters down the line but on the internet simply there are no filters and as such the field [is] wide open for abuse.”

Earlier, analysing the trends which dictated the course of events in the country over the last 20-25 years, Mr. Padgaonkar said that the economic reforms ushered in 1991 shifted the power of authority\influence from the state to market forces.

Three-way nexus

With the shift, market players had been able to build a nexus among politicians, bureaucrats and the private sector“These three have worked in cahoots in order to gain access to the state’s resources,” he said.

At the same time, Mr. Padgaonkar felt the government was becoming increasingly insignificant and the locus of influence was shifting from government to civil society.

As regards the polity, he spoke of the significant shift of political power from New Delhi, which had been the sole depository of power and authority, to States.

States more assertive

He also spoke of how the regional parties began challenging the dominance of single parties and how States became far more assertive about their rights. Referring to the actions of leaders like West Bengal and Tamil Nadu Chief Ministers Mamata Banerjee and Jayalalithaa, Mr. Padgaonkar said this forthrightness was only going to grow.