Friday, July 16, 2010


It was 1984 when our Prime Minister Indira Ji was assassinated; thousands of people were coming to pay their respect to the departed leader. They were obviously angry and were shouting ‘khoon ka badla khoon se lenge’. This slogan was shown to viewers all over India over and over for almost three days and riots started. The scenes were true and factual but their display caused irreparable damage to the social fabric of our country. Should journalists not observe a little discretion?

When the country was stunned and shocked by the terrorist attack in Mumbai, one TV channel was broadcasting live the conversation with the terrorists challenging the might of India from the Taj Hotel. It appeared the channel was flashing the conversation with Neil Armstrong from the surface of Moon. Have the government of India or journalist community or public at large done anything against the channel? Did the media condemn unequivocally the act of the channel? How could it because all the rest were competing with each other to show a glimpse of one or the other terrorist.

Investigative journalism is a crucial aspect of media. Most of us know how President Nixon of the USA had to resign as a consequence of master piece investigative journalism on phone taping. But in India it has put the other aspects of journalism in background. Every other TV journalist is roaming around with a hidden camera and the moment you utter a word in the unguarded moment, they flash it as News.

Days were spent on the coverage of the so called crimes by Shankaracharya, Pragya Thakur and many others. What if they are proved innocent in the court of law? Will the same amount of time be devoted on the issue? The reporters are turning to be accusers and pretend to be running a parallel intelligence agency. Media trials cannot be a substitute for judicial trials.

TV sets and News papers are common in the country side in India. It is up to the journalists to decide if they want to give some time to 72% population of India living in villages. Is there no News other than rape, murder, molestation, nudity, loot and gamble? There must be something creative and constructive happening in the country but that would not be a ‘Breaking News’. Instances like a snake chasing a man, a boy with a tail, a fake Sain Baba, gimmicks like magic cure of diseases and so on do not deserve hours and hours on TV.

In spite of the fact that Indian media has lost its way in the woods, I strongly condemn the acts of hooliganism, on the pretext of protest against incorrect reporting. The aggrieved can go to the court and file a defamation suit against the channels and journalists but the decision might take a few decades. Media itself should decide and educate the people how to deal with the errant News in a speedy manner.

No comments:

Post a Comment