Anyone with a smartphone and social media account is a journalist today: Shehzad Poonawala

Political analyst Shehzad Poonawala spoke to Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, as part of Visionary Talk series

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jan 27, 2021 8:29 AM
Visionary Talk

In a scathing attack on media, political analyst Shehzad Poonawala has said that the time of media is over and that anyone with a social media account and a smartphone can be a journalist today.

While speaking to Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, during the Visionary Talk series held by the public policy and governance analysis platform, Poonawala said with the social media becoming democratized, a new type of journalism is emerging today where one can take a picture, write the story and directly post it.

“The journalists and the media must understand that journalism has become democratized and dynamic today. It is no more aligned to a particular ideology, party or family, the way it has been happening for the last 70 years. Whoever has a smartphone and a social media account is a journalist. Today, a new journalism is emerging where you can take a picture, write the story and directly post it.”

Taking a dig at a media house, Poonawala said their journalists had a very cozy relationship with the governance structure and the government and they would decide Cabinet formation on their phone. “Today, these people have no power structure. No one recognizes them because they were doing propaganda for a particular family. Today, this kind of journalism is over.”

While speaking on India’s Covid vaccination drive, Poonawala said the handling of the health crisis was initially politicized. “First they questioned why the PM was not imposing a lockdown. After the PM imposed lockdown, they started saying lockdown has destroyed the economy and said allow the migrants to go home. When migrants were sent home, they questioned why they were sent home as it spread the infection. When the government decided to unlock the nation, they questioned that too."

“Then they said when vaccines have come in the UK and US why has India still not made it. When the vaccine came, they said it is BJP’s vaccine and renders a person impotent and asked why the PM is not getting vaccinated. “Can politics be done over pandemic and public health?” he asked, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been recognized across the world for his handling of the Covid-19 crisis.

Poonawala added that the PM sending out the message that frontline workers will be vaccinated in phase 1 has put an end to the VVIP culture of entitlement.

Poonawala, whose ideological alignment towards BJP is well known, was then asked to react on the perception that without formally being a member of BJP, he is considered a part of the party. He replied saying, it is unfortunate that when he talks of nationalism or respect for jawans, he is construed as pro-Modi.

“The opposition has to think and decide that if somebody is holding the flag of nationalism, why should it be interpreted to be the narrative of a particular political party?” he concluded.   


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