It was a bitter-sweet year for the Indian media.
The traditional media continued to dominate even as the New Media started making its presence felt a little more.
Right through the year, there were the usual calls for self-restraint, especially when it came to electronic media, but there was also a new awareness that the media can make a difference to any issue.
In the end, 2011 will, however, be remembered for seven events:
Coverage of Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement: The wall to wall coverage changed the perception of media in India. It was like a defining moment, an acceptance of media’s larger-than-life presence. The live images, first from Jantar Mantar and later from Ramlila Maidan, galvanized the nation.
The television became the carrier of the anger, the cynicism and skepticism of millions of Indians uniting middle class India into one large monolith that made the Government of India bend not once, but twice. It was as much a victory of civil society as the manifestation of media power. It established beyond doubt the power of the media to sway masses, and redefine polity.
The image of media in India moved from that of being a watchdog to more of an active player. The activist image, sometimes openly partisan, came under fire but the media had gauged the pulse of the people rightly. It was able to identify itself with the masses; in the process it redefined its role too.
Image: Supporters of Anna Hazare, depicted in photograph in background, hold a candlelight vigil in Ahmedabad, Wednesday, December 28, 2011.