We do know the importance of news in our daily life right from a dose of newspaper with our bed coffee to the mid-night news edition on television it is very impressive the way in which the media has matured from a conventional text-paper format to sophisticated e-news on mobile phones. All the while it has played a crucial role at every point of mankind’s development.
In today’s scenario social, economic and political activity from every corner are related to one another E.g.: Production slowdown in USA affects the employment of people in India and contrarily when there is shortage of raw material supply from India the production cost of USA goes sky rocketing. So as far as my understanding is concerned the concept of super power economy does not exist.
Similarly most of the old school concepts in the world are dynamically changing and new practices are coming into existence, to get updated with these changes everybody needs to have a medium to gather information which in today’s term we call it as NEWS i.e. North, East, West, South.
Even the private news channels have also gained the trust of the common people by bringing broader and actual news to the people against the monopoly version and biased views of the state run news channels, this has also developed the intellectual maturity of the common man and has also broadened their viewpoint or outlook.
The contribution of news channels was tremendously seen for instance during Jessica lal’s murder case trial where a country united to seek justice, even some arrogant politicians fear the pen and the camera and put up a their good foot at least in front of the media, the hidden-camera reports which has shaken the existence of red-tapism and bribery at the bureaucrat level, the press had also given a best coverage while tracking the recent rise in the rate of inflation which has put the government both at national and international on their toes to take immediate measure and for all these facts the news channels can be definitely called as eyes and ear of a common man.
However today the scenario has somewhat changed as people have started questioning the way in which the news item are being presented, since some news channels have been constantly found sensationalizing the news report and tampering with decency.
Breaking News or Exclusive
This is a common tag line in almost every news channel today the intent of this magic word is to keep the viewer glued to the news channel. Even though there are several reports which are strongly questionable for their fundamental. Here are some which I had observed.
Breaking News- Big-Bang Experiment OR Doomsday Calling
Big-Bang experiment which was conducted in Swiss-French border was intended to a bring a new insight for the scientist all over the world over the formation of our planet and also it was claimed to be one of the biggest experiments of the recent times. There were literally 200 scientists from India alone who had contributed for the project and also designed a key component. India also gave a monetary contribution of $ 25 million towards the project.
And on 21 October 2008 the experiment successfully began and the whole world celebrated meanwhile in one of the remote corner of village in India a misfortune struck a family. A teenage girl had committed suicide by consuming insecticide (Does both the story seem irrelevant? go on reading) When the police probed into the case and questioned several people about this incident it came to light that the girl from quite sometime lived with a constant fear that the world was heading to an end and great catastrophe was on its way because of Big-Bang experiment. And this "DOOMSDAY" theory was put forward by a news channel which had been constantly linking the Big-Bang theory experiment with a great world disaster which would bring life on the planet to an end. The girl gripped out of panic decided to end her own life before being a victim of the catastrophe.
Though the news channel failed to broadcast right facts about the project and propagated false information leading to death of one its viewer the police lodged the case of "death by poisoning".
Breaking news – Abhishek Aishwarya marriage
Abhishek Bachhan and Aishwariya Ri’s wedding had already made it into news on several grounds of speculation, from their relation between these two actors to the guest list present during the marriage ceremony. It was one of the most awaited events in the history of Indian film industry.
And when the "D-day" finally arrived, the news channels were kept away from the marriage because the hosts considered it as their family affair, suddenly the news report appeared in almost all the news channels simultaneously bearing the tag "Breaking News" or "Flash News". Over a claim by a girl who had earlier attempted suicide and gave a statement that she had a secret relation with Abhishek Bachhan and she was promised marriage by his family, one news channel even broadcasted a live show on the basis of her telltale story and also involved her family into the incident. The channel also brought several experts on the live show who later concluded that she was not on a stable state of mind and she needed some medical attention. Let me remind you at all these times the marriage of Abhishek and Aishwariya was underway.
My question to the News channel is, why didn’t they try to gather credibility of facts and information which the girl gave before showcasing it on the national T.V? Was the show broadcasted to disgrace the family for not inviting the media to the wedding? Or was it just to increase the viewership of the show or TRP.
Breaking news – Arushi Case
The Arushi murder case attracted the attention of all people in the country. Not commenting on the case, I really had all my sympathies with the family of Arushi Talwar, who were grilled by media reporters about the incident. I mean who gives media the right to harass a family who are already in trauma by the death one of its family members everyone has something called private life why doesn’t the media respect it. I was really feeling sad to see one of the relatives in the Arushi case literally pleading the media to let them go. Why are there so many races to limelight among news agencies which is expected to be responsible towards the society?
I would like to ask the journalist fraternity how they would respond if people made news of their family affair or grief. I mean it is normal tendency that people pacify the other who is in pain and not add more to their misery by asking series of question. If we don’t think it is our moral responsibility we all have been taught to speak right things on right occasion from our early childhood.
Moreover if the media starts forecasting or predicting the cases like murder by collecting SMS polls, and other medium, then it is being judgmental and it can pose a threat to the very existence of our judicial system and it can also turn the entire public opinion against the judicial system and make judiciary a mockery in the society.
I really appreciate the article published by Indira Jaisingh on "The Hindu" magazine dated 03-August-08, which spoke against the violation of freedom of rights and expression by institutions like media.
However it is funny to watch news channels even generating background music scores to the news report something which was earlier common only with daily soaps, even the celebrities duck themselves as soon they see the media in their premises, news has become more of an entertainment channel with loads of masala added to it rather than being a informational database.
Today what we need is a regulatory authority for media and broadcasting who can keep a tab on the show broadcasted by the media both private as well as public. This type of regulated monitoring of media is already seen in some of the business news channels which serve as information basket for retail investors and companies, in India they are regulated by SEBI- Stock exchange board of India. But I don’t suggest government agency to regulate the same as it may turn lead to exploitation of media by the government and they may turn tyrannical. The association of press can formulate their own regulatory organization and control its members:
Similarly to the below mentioned counterpart organization:
IRDA: It is insurance regulatory
AMFI: It is a mutual fund regulatory
RBI: It is a regulatory authority for all the banks
NABARD: Regulatory for agricultural development
As I had mentioned it earlier it not that all the news channels pop masala news, on many cases news channels that have been very responsible for creating awareness among people and also serving the public interest in general and they have always remained on the mainstream of news reporting. Infact it is these news-channels who have really proved to be the voice of the society.
Harsh Raj, Mangalore
Author: Harsh Raj- Mangalore