‘Hawa Nikal Gayi’: Rahul Gandhi’s crude snub to a journalist shows everyone likes a free press – if it is a press they like
There are, of course, sections of the media – like every other profession – that have chosen to act as loudspeakers and cheerleaders rather than interlocutors for the public. But not every uncomfortable question is the result of a “compromised” journalist.
XCongress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses a presser on his disqualification from the Lok Sabha. (Screengrab/ Youtube/ Indian National Congress)
It is easy to forget, given the last nearly-nine years, that the press conference is, in fact, a staple of most modern democracies. But every few weeks or so, the all-mighty Algorithm throws up a particular kind of video on the social media timelines of liberal Indians, that serves as a reminder. One can view, from archives Indian and international — Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Morarji Desai… all the way up to A B Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh — the most powerful leaders answering questions. They subjected themselves to scrutiny by reporters – with often combative but rarely disrespectful questions — at press conferences and through interviews that went beyond mangoes, motherhood and apple pie.