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In the Centre of Right


Unlike the mainstream media, the social media is not hypocritic and is more democratic. It does not have strict parameters by which they need to abide. Anuradha Preetam looks at how one such forum used this strength to its advantage.
ANURADHA PREETAM | New Delhi, June 2, 2012 18:12
Tags : cri | social media |

A couple of years ago, a few friends, along with some like minded individual bloggers, who did not know each other personally formed a group because “the challenge of maintaining individual blogs was overwhelming”. And thus happened, – which is run as a community platform. Better known as CRI, the blog site made news recently because Business Standard had to have a re-look at its write-up because of the site and BBC got proved wrong automatically for it ran a news item based on this Business Standard piece of information.

Elaborating on the incident, Prasanna Viswanathan, a software engineer by profession and one of the Editors of the site states, “ We had noted that Gujarat gets singled out for a lot of negative campaign and there is a lot of wilful representation of facts. A K Bhattacharya, in his Business Standard piece had compared Gujarat with Jharkhand, branding Gujarat as a non-performing state, building a narrative around facts that were actually wrong. Probably, he had got his data from Planning Commission. Our commentators made a conscious effort  and in post after post, we countered the columnist and the column itself. By then, the mainstream media, including the BBC, had done reports based on the Business Standard piece. The next day, Business Standard corrected itself. A K Bhattacharya had written to us that the mistake was not intentional and was actually an oversight.”

CRI had played a leading role recently on the alleged sex tapes of Abhishek Manu Singhvi. Prasanna points out that the mainstream media’s role in this matter was shameful, to say the least. “It was the hypocrisy of the mainstream media to hide itself behind the legal sophistry,” Prasanna says. He points out, had it not been for the grit and determination of the social media, the matter would have been swept under the carpet wilfully.

CRI had also been a frontrunner during the Lokpal Bill movement and initiated a meaningful debate on FDI in retail sector. In fact, it could be said to be ahead of the curve on some issues of national importance.

Team CRI is in an upbeat mood. They are conscious of their new found status. While they realise, mainstream media is here to stay, they are also well aware that the social media is a parallel that also demands its own niche. In India, in the absence of a credible watchdog of a still nascent mass media, social media has the potential to play that role. It is indeed the medium of the future.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017