“There is nothing more frightening than active ignorance.”
I have always believed that the Media representatives are a class apart, because they are the lifeblood of a thriving democracy. However, it is regrettable to note that, today, the quality of journalism is declining. The News is dwindling slowly from the ‘important’ to the ‘seemingly important’ and finally deteriorating into the ‘Trivial.’
Independent India brought with it a ray of hope and gave us a medium that could reach out to the people and would dwell on active but Constructive Criticism. “Free Media” was meant to be one of the Fundamental Pillars of a Progressive Democracy. This meant that the burden of spreading the “good word” lay on the media because its reach was far greater than any influential leader or Political Party. Furthermore, emphasis was laid on accuracy and objectivity.
The scenario today is different with the media delivering news like a fast-food restaurant. My generation maybe young, but definitely not naïve to understand when a ‘puff – piece’ is blown out of proportion and given the title of ‘Breaking News!’ Efficiently delivering news that is fair and more importantly accurate is the responsibility of a ‘Responsible’ media representative.
Interestingly not one, but many celebrities have voiced their angst against mis- represented facts and mistaken names. The journalists thus land up getting involved in defamation suits.
The active ‘inactivity’ of the media at times, frankly proves a turnoff for the Aam Admi.
Maybe the Media needs to re- think its stance. “The public is not a bunch of non- thinking entities.” They too have some expectations. Freedom with responsibility is the least one can expect!
This blogpost is only a reflection of a viewer and hence could be debated upon. But, I strongly believe that, it is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable. A few weeks ago, the media frenzied over Anna Hazare's fast and every minute we flipped the news channels, we encountered only two words “BREAKING NEWS!” What was actually ‘breaking’ and in fact crumbling to pieces was the ‘Patience’ of the Audience, forced to see the same visuals again and again until it was perfected to an extent that one could easily answer a three- hour paper on it! My point here is that, over- sensationalising a news- piece with the word “LIVE” plastered at a teeny- weeny corner of the T.V screen is in reality killing us.
Another glaring problem that we face is that although there is no paucity of issues to be dealt with, undue importance is given to only one news-piece throughout the day. This in turn not only overshadows the other news items, but also ensures that the viewers’ refrain from watching the news. A friend of mine remarked, “News today is like Television soaps, watch it twice a week and we’re sorted!” Another stated, “Yeah I read the newspaper, from the last to the first page, it’s easier to read that way!” These students are straight A’s students, by the way. As a member of the youth community keenly interested in politics, I watch the news with a hope of learning more, but, for young people dis- interested in politics and current affairs, the media is doing a great job keeping them that way!
When we study the law we follow an interesting theory, “Justice must not only be done, but, must also appear to be done.” Equivocally, “Quality journalism must not just be done, but appear to be done!” The murder of Mr J Dey, an excellent reporter was indeed a loss for the entire country, but in the last couple of days apart from the Secret Seven being caught by the Law Enforcement Agency what was projected was a more orchestrated attempt to get a ‘separate law’ for protecting journalists! Imagine, if all professionals took to the streets in order to get separate laws passed!
Clive Barnes once commented, “Television is the first truly democratic culture -- the first culture available to everybody and entirely governed by what the people want!” But, the question remains, ‘Who defines what the people want?’
Another issue and this one cutting across all news channels, is that the news reporters never allow the guests on their respective Television shows to answer the question completely. The only words one gets to hear everyday is, "We're running out of time!" At times it is the guest who has to almost forcibly stop the interlocutor from cutting every dialogue. Why don’t the news reporters devote more time to such debates that will give an ecumenical view of the issue to the audience rather than a half-cooked pie that is indigestible? It would be much easier to just have an intelligent debate on the topic of interest rather than indulge in media – ennui. Emphasis can be laid on the issue more effectively.
It becomes necessary for me to state here, that the Media is not one- hundred per cent wrong. We have brilliant journalists conducting CNN- IBN’s Citizen Journalism, ‘The Buck stops here’ on NDTV and others but, we definitely need more such contributions in order to get the Indian Media at the top!
My intention is to bring to light that aspect that the Media does not see or does not want to see because of the much hallowed TRPs. The people want concrete, objective and accurate information and as a part of the society, I do not think it is too much to ask… or is it?
The chances of any journalist appreciating this blog are svelte, nonetheless this Case deserves a fair hearing or rather a fair thought!
Having said that, I rest my case!