Monday, November 22, 2010

Redefining - 4th Pillar of Democracy

Traditionally, Free Press has been considered the 4th pillar of democracy. This is because free press can keep a check on the legislative, executive as well as judiciary (in some sense) by influencing public opinion and can also help the legislative to remain connected to the people for whom it is forming the 'LAWS'. It is an integral bridge between 'the people' and the government. But let us try to find a logic in this all 'bridging' theory, after all this blog is called Logic :) Why is it the 4th pillar? The key is the bridge it forms. But its not the bridge thats important but its the purpose of the bridge that bestows it this significance. Its a game all about information. Yep, possession of right  information is the foundation stone of anything you can think of. Be it War, Business, Sport.... name anything. If you have the right information, only then you can think of proceeding forward. And that is the primary reason why Press is so important. You and me won't even know whats happening in the next neighborhood of the city if its not in the Newspaper or Television! But times are changing and I believe the time has come to Re-define the 4th pillar.

First of all, let me clarify, I am not talking about cleaning the press system, which like all systems is highly corrupt, biased and profit driven. Mark the last one - profit driven. Journalism as I see today is at its lowest and it has definitely not hit the bottom yet. Some might say, how can I say this? Personal experience. I have seen journalist blackmailing people. And its a very strange type of blackmailing. If you have done something wrong and then somebody blackmails you, its understandable. But if somebody just blackmail you for anything, its like, I have the power and I will write any crap about you and somewhere in the fine prints it would be mentioned that the media has not verified the story.... but the damage would be done. Similar is the present power broking story involving some of the big names in journalism. I am not saying everyone is same but on the whole the standards are falling. But discussing that is not the goal here. As its no surprise to me and I believe it won't be for any of you too.... we have become immune to all these. Nothing is unexpected for me now. Everyone and anyone can be corrupt....

But when I talk about re-defining the 4th pillar, its about the emergence of a new power. Remember, I talked about the importance of the 4th pillar is because of information. Well, its the basis on which the 4th pillar is defined and in the present context and present world scenario, I think Social Network, in the form of facebook, orkut, twitter, myspace etc, is the real 4th pillar. Just think of it. When the story of leading journalists being involved in power brokering surfaced, none of the main stream media even mentioned it. I was checking ToI, I checked ET.... there was nothing there... not even a 1 line mention of this! And my friends tell me that nothing was there on TV news channels! Isn't it strange....but definitely not unexpected, as now nothing is unexpected... But still the news is alive and where is it alive and why is it alive? Its only and only because of social network. And the good thing is, it can not be centrally controlled. Hence, its extremely difficult to stop it or tweak it. With time this pillar will only grow and become stronger. This is the shift in paradigm which is apparent to some but with time as broadband penetration will increase, it will become apparent to all. This is a moment of re-definition, which will re-define the basic human thirst of information and will change the entire social fabric.

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