Wednesday, January 17, 2007

News is no News

We all know what the Indian News channels have come to become. They have proliferated like mushrooms and have left some of us wondering if those days of conservative Door Darshan were better. In quest of TRPs and beating the competition at any cost, these news channels have denigrated news into cheap sensastionalism and tabloid gossips. Anything can become a breaking news, even if it is hardly a news. Every news channel repeats the same story and claims the first one to break it. Most of their field reporters have no sense of what news and reporting is all about and their presenters sound uneducated (there are very few Mini Menons and where is Barkha Dutt!!). Even some of better channels like Star News have consistently gone the downhill.

We know that large number of masses like to know about celebrities and their lives, so recently when engagement of Abhishek Bachachan and Aishwarya Rai was announced, it was no surprise that all the news channels were on it immediately. But, what defeats me is the way it was covered. I don't understand why it was necessary to invite "pundits" and "astrologers" and ask their opinion about wheather marriage would be a success or not, or what chould be the date of marriage or scores of such stupid questions. In doing so, these channels are also indirectly promoting some superstitious practices and thier practitioners. The whole reporting on Aish-AB affair was nothing but tabloid news and channels acted like paparazzi. Why is it so important for nation to know what temples these guys went to and what pujas they performed or what pujari had to say!! Why should a new channel extensively report on how couple's new house is being done up and how many swimming pools it has!! How is it a news when Bipasha Basu is rehearsing for one of 1 million bollywood award functions !! And sample the news caption "Bipasha ke Jalwe"..."Bipasha ne bikhera husn ka Jaadu" . I mean there has to be some distinction between serious news and this kind of "page 3" , peripheral reporting which can be left to channels like Zoom.

There is no doubt that media as such and TV in particular has been largely instrumental in making people aware of various issues, keeping issues in focus (Jessica Lall for example) and forcing lethargic government agencies and institutions to act. TV has also made many corrput politicians and officials mend their way and has instilled a fear in their heart as nothing escapes the media these days. Media is one of 3 pillars of democracy and news channels have such an important role to play and they must not let their reputation and credibility sullied by irresponsible and amateur reporting. They need to move away from thier fixation with bollywood, celebrities and Cricket. They need to understand distinction between reality, triviality and sensationalism. May be it is just that this medium is new in India and has not yet reached maturity which is desired out of it. With great power comes the greater responsibility.

1 comment:

Innocent Warrior said...

Thanks for the article.