Friday, April 20, 2007

New-s-ense

Today's headlines on Star News:
Aishwariya Rai and Abhishek Bachhan to tie the knot
Gere shocks the Nation by kissing Shilpa Shetty on stage
Locals in a rush to drink 'miracle' water
Young boy trapped in a manhole

Please note, everything written above is extremely mellowed down as compared to when it is said in Hindi in the most melodramatic ways possible. Coming to the point, there are a two things ironical about what I have written above -firstly, the definitions of the headlines these days and secondly, the whole joke of calling that channel Star News!

Wonder what is wrong with the mass media of our country? By no means am I generalizing this accusation for all the news channels functioning in the country. There are few who are doing a really fine job. However that doesn't shirk off the responsibilities from any of the other news channels to not do the same.

After all, they are on national television, and what they depict can have a great impact on what the people think. Perhaps, being a part of today's well-connected youth with oodles of exposure, this may look like no big deal, but I have seen illiterate people being driven in the wrong direction because of the frenzy they create.

Take for instance, the whole issue of Baba Ambedkar's statue being sabotaged. The incident occurred at only one place, but the way it was blown out of proportion, it looked as if statues had been brought down in a million places in the country. I don't need to elucidate on what happened after that.

Forget illiterate people, even the educated mass sometimes gives in to the gibberish showcased on these channels. There seems to be absolutely no distinction between the daily soaps on the entertainment channels and what is seen on a few news channels these days.

Television as a medium is such a powerful tool to generate awareness and bring the facts to the masses. There is no denying the fact that some broadcasters have handled this power with great responsibility, as seen in the Jessica Lal case or the Right to Information campaigns. However, the whole good which these channels do is negated by their counter-parts that I have discussed above.

What sells will be shown, but aren’t we capable enough of altering the taste of the viewers. Of course, no one is asking these channels to not show all the gossip and one-off eye-catching incidents, but you can’t give them more coverage than matters of greater public importance. It will be ideal if the news bulletins are restricted to the news, and the gossip to page 3 shows. The least the can do is get their priorities right. Nonetheless, that’ll be too much to ask from these commercially motivated 'news' channels. Talk of sense and sensibility!

No comments: