…Insofar, therefore, as they rule as a class … hence among other things rule also as thinkers, as producers of ideas, and regulate the production and distribution of the ideas of their age: thus their ideas are the ruling ideas of the epoch.” These lines from The German Ideology written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels way back in 1845-46, bring out the essential hegemonic role of bourgeois media and “culture industry” in our age too. However, the exact manner in which today’s owners of “means of mental production” actually “regulate the production and distribution” of ideas is determined by the specific features of ownership, control and modus operandi of media establishments as well as by the general trends of the current neoliberal phase of capitalism.

16. Media, defined as human communications through designed channels which store, process and transmit information, data, views and knowledge, have assumed enormous importance in our economic, political and socio-cultural life in the in the era of ‘digital/virtual capitalism’ ushered in by the information technology revolution. The contribution of the “infotainment industry” as a whole to GDP and job creation has grown noticeably in recent decades all over the world, especially in the West but increasingly also in our country. Transforming sports into televised entertainment products has created new genres of sports such as T-20 cricket involving big money, scams and corruption of the game itself. Electronic media has also commoditised religion, superstitions, and quackery in a huge way with a large number of electronic channels dedicated solely to such pursuits.

17. The function of media apparatuses as a legitimising force of the rule of finance capital in shaping the “new world order” has become extremely important. The private corporate media were instrumental in the attempted coup to overthrow President Chavez in Venezuela in April 2002. The political manoeuvres of Berlusconi in Italy and Murdoch in the UK are well-known. For us, however, even more crucial is the significance of media as a site of major social conflicts, including those among ruling classes and between the rulers and the ruled, and therefore as a contested space for ideological-political hegemony.

18. All segments of media have experienced rapid corporate-driven growth in India over the last two decades. As of 2011, there were 146 million television households viewing a total of over 6232 channels, 82,000 newspapers with a readership of 181.91 million and approximately 132 million Indian internet users (taking into account multiple users for a single wire line connection). Our country is now the third largest TV market after USA and China but television penetration is still at approximately 60 percent of total households and 45% of total population, which means a lot of scope for further development. In 2011 the television, newspaper and magazine industries were estimated at Rs 329 billion, Rs 197 billion and Rs 13 billion respectively. Mobile Internet through smart phones, laptops and tablets has emerged as the latest and a fast growing segment of Internet use.

19. In our country as well as internationally, both the print and electronic media are increasingly coming under monopoly ownership and control. A major boost to the process comes from the ongoing privatisation of electromagnetic spectrum the world over, symptomatic of the corporate appropriation of the IT revolution. Western, predominantly US, conglomerates like Comcast/NBC Universal, Walt Disney and Time Warner have as their counterparts the likes of Star TV India, TV 18, NDTV, Sony, Zee Group etc. Other major players who dominate the electronic and print media are the Times of India Group, Hindustan Times Group, Indian Express Group, The Hindu Group, Anand Bazar Patrika Group, Malayala