SMaRT, Samachar Manyata Association for Research and Training, a consortium of media initiatives, launched its website this afternoon. Seen as a challenge thrown at the pattern of hostile reporting, commentary and analysis by big media houses, both national and international, SMaRT says in its press release, “One of the biggest tragedies of independent India has been monopolisation of the narrative space by subscribers of one political ideology — starting from the left of the centre all the way to the extreme — communism and Marxism.”
“… it is the news media which has been most influential for the simple reason that it reached more people than academics did (via radio, papers and finally tv) and was taken seriously unlike popular media,” the release reads.
The initiative sees the media discourse as propaganda by a “monopoly”. “This monopoly over narrative broke in the last decade as social media rose as an alternative to the mainstream media whose leading lights got exposed for what they were — shallow, partisan elites with disdain for India’s majority, their culture and their values,” SMaRT says.
The initiative describes the coming together of pro-India media personnel in these words: “The ones flooding the media and challenging the old order couldn’t have been more different. They were ordinary citizens with zero political access, graduated fresh from middle classes, holding the civilisational ethos of this land in high regard and nationalistic to a fault. One couldn’t have hoped for a more suited group of individuals to challenge the ‘manipulated media’.”
Describing the initiative, the website says, “SMaRT is an initiative to fill this gap. SMaRT is not an industry association nor does it attempt to influence the editorial policies of any of its members. SMaRT aims to nurture and support its members through various initiatives that can help improve the quality of their content, widen its reach and help them achieve financial sustainability. These support initiatives include research grants, translation services, legal support, multimedia facilities for generating high-quality content, start-up funding, advertisement support and more.”
SMaRT was launched on Dusherra, 25 October 2020. In the last seven months, it has reached a key milestone of 60 members, with a combined reach of more than 80 million hits, views and impressions every month.
SMaRT says it looks forward to encouraging “more nationalist and dharmic media members to join this initiative to amplify its voice to a much wider audience through this synergistic alliance.”
“Monopolies are bad,” SMaRT says, adding, “They lead to lethargy, incompetence, inefficiency and ultimately bankruptcy. That’s what has happened in India’s media space as well. It’s time to change that.”
The SMaRT press release does not mention the anti-India policy and actions of Islamic forces even though several of its associates run media ventures that constantly report the attacks on Hindus collectively by Muslims.