Fourth Estate Scanned
Robin Jeffrey
SCREENING THE PUBLIC SPHERE: MEDIA AND DEMOCRACY IN INDIA by Saima Saeed Routledge, 2013, 200 pp., 995
September 2013, volume 37, No 9

This book is the published version of what must have been an immensely diligent PhD thesis prepared for Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. The book bears the marks of a thesis. Few stones are left unturned: there are 19 tables, 36 figures and more than 150,000 words. The Big Thinkers from Plato and Kant to Foucault and Kuhn get acknowledged. Often their work is digested in passages that read like a graduate student’s notes in preparation for ‘prelims’ (examinations preliminary to embarking on PhD research). There is a survey of 150 respondents in Delhi eliciting their attitudes to media (p. 311).

The conclusions, however, are not surprising. Journalism and media, the author argues, have gone to the dogs—‘from information relevant to the citizenry to infotainment …(and) from public service impetus to private viewer gratification’ (p. 359).

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