Don't underestimate YouTubers, they have created an anti-Modi wave and united key voters

Ananya Shroff
4 Min Read


New Delhi: In the last national elections in 2019, the BJP dominated the social media space. In the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, YouTubers played a key role in wresting this space from the saffron party's hold, improving the position of the Congress-led coalition India. Many YouTubers not only strengthened the anti-Modi and anti-BJP sentiments but also kept the anti-government voters united. These YouTubers also caught the attention of the British weekly magazine The Economist. According to Statista.com, India has 476 million YouTube viewers.

YouTubers like Dhruv Rathee got a lot of publicity

Statistics show that Dhruv Rathi is the most viewed YouTuber in this election. Rathi's 'Modi: The Real Story' has been viewed 27 million times alone. However, media commentator Sevanthi Ninan has described him as 'the big new phenomenon of these elections'. Media commentator and columnist Madhavan Narayanan says that YouTubers like him are often playing the same role that the mainstream media should play – checking facts, questioning contradictions and providing meaningful context and background.

“People love them for their passion, informality and storytelling style. News YouTubers are knowledge players who have replaced static or gruff TV anchors. I have no doubt that this has changed opinions and media consumption among the educated youth and the middle class,” he says.

The lack of mainstream media was met, but there was a lot of cheating too

Media commentator Vanita Kohli-Khandekar says national TV channels cater to this audience and wonders why no news channel caters to all Indians or a larger segment. “There is an information gap. And nature doesn't like a vacuum. WhatsApp, YouTube, Facebook, Reels and dozens of short video apps fill this gap. Some work better than others and hence attract more attention,” she says.

Ninan says politicians have also sought out YouTube channels to connect with voters, helping them avoid the gatekeeping role of mainstream media. “There is a shift in power from companies to individuals in the media world,” she says. The impact is clearly visible, she says. The government aims to bring broadcast services, including OTT channels, under its ambit through the proposed Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill.

It is worth noting that be it Dhruv Rathee or any other anti-Modi YouTuber, all of them have dishonestly dismissed the achievements of the government and India. They either did not discuss the major achievements or exaggerated them by finding some flaws in them. If we look at their videos, it is clear that their aim was not to bring out the truth but to please a particular type of voter or to incite anti-government sentiments. They hid many facts and presented many facts in a distorted manner. So if they replaced the mainstream media in exposing the mistakes of the government, it is equally true that these YouTubers also presented themselves as puppets of the opposition.

With inputs from Times of India report.


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