It’s a bit of a shame. PM Narendra Modi stepped out for a Diwali Milan with national journalists and ended up getting mobbed by them instead.
The journalists jostled to get the best angles for selfies with the PM in a manner that would make his many fanboys insanely jealous. The SPG had a hard time keeping them away from the PM and it highlighted yet another unsavoury aspect of the fourth estate.
These photos might end up on their Facebook pages, Twitter handles or some might even take a print and put it up in their offices/homes but is this how professionals should be conducting themselves?
PM Modi, BJP leaders meet media at party headquarters; Journalists in selfie jostle with PM pic.twitter.com/6RMxlsccPI— NDTV (@ndtv) November 28, 2015
Guests go crazy on #SelfiewithModi @BJP Diwali Milan @IndianExpress @narendramodi @neerajexpress #Modi pic.twitter.com/1wjTe3NTUw— Tashi Tobgyal (@tashitobgyal) November 28, 2015
Guests at PM’s Diwali Milan jostle for a #SelfieWithModi pic.twitter.com/CHuSrblugr— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) November 28, 2015
Since it’s tradition at the Diwali Milan lunch & I follow him/the party around everywhere. @PMOIndia pic.twitter.com/zasTPsxOjS— Poulomi Saha (@PoulomiMSaha) November 28, 2015
Posted by Nishant Rai on Saturday, November 28, 2015
Ever since coming into power 18 months back, Narendra Modi has not held a single open press conference where the press could ask him hard questions – face to face, without censorship and without the possibility of anything getting lost in translation.
There are been a debate – real and perceived – around intolerance in the country and the rise of the fringe right-wing Hinduvta elements. Foreign publications have weighed in as well, but the Indian media has struggled get the BJP’s biggest leader to answer questions on the subject. He has never been made available, he does his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on radio but he doesn’t have to face questions on them.
At least some journalists thought otherwise:
Appalled with journos making a spectacle of themselves scrambling for selfies with PM. Your job is to ask tough questions not click pictures— Rahul Kanwal (@rahulkanwal) November 28, 2015
Feeling embarrassed watching Indian journalists scrambling over Modi to get a selfie with him rather than asking him important questions..— Nita Bhalla (@nitabhalla) November 28, 2015
Friends, the price of the press badge that gets you in the room with powerful people is clear: no selfies with them https://t.co/mllNVEjVPo— Nicholas Dawes (@NicDawes) November 28, 2015
Instead of falling over each other in their attempt to get selfies with the PM, journalists needed to question his policy; instead of just writing about what he should do – they could have had him clear the air.
But no, selfies are important and that is what we really care about. If a picture is indeed worth a thousand words, then the scenes told us all what needs to be corrected about Indian journalism.