The importance of the mass media, particularly the Audio-visual Media, in today’s world is enormous. In fact, media is the eye, ear and tongue of a society through which a person, a community, a society, a nation and the world sees, hears and speaks. It is all pervading and all powerful, touching and affecting almost every one’s life on this planet directly or indirectly. It can make or break a person, an organization or a society, even a state, and cause serious upheavals and impact on the whole world. It has proved to be a double edged weapon, if used properly and wisely, it is the pillar of strength of a society but if used improperly, it can ruin many a lives and many a society.
Let us take the example of present day Audio-visual media. Today, every TV Channel wants to increase its TRP ratings at any cost and earn as much advertisements as possible. It is no secret that most of these Channels are run by big business barons of both national and foreign origin, having vested and often conflicting interests. These media moghuls, seated in India or overseas, are fighting a day to day ‘Channel War’ and people’s lives are sucked into it like fodders for cannons. There are countless examples wherein these all powerful and all pervading media have ruined many a lives by staging fake sting operations, cooking and planting stories which are far from real, doctoring news and views, and all sorts of yellow journalism. Most often than not, they tend to make mountain out of a mole. Unfortunately, the Indian mass media whether it is print or audio-visual, they aren't exactly the most sober and mature examples of their profession. They believe in sensationalizing the news to titillate and catch more viewership/ readership. The examples are too many to count, presenting untruthful and myopic views of a particular incidence, and so on. The most recent example is when the Bihar State was sinking in the recent Tsunami of Kosi floods in 2008, most of the national media was found either playing guitar (?) or sweet slumber for weeks together, thinking ‘oh Bihar floods, it’s just routine’ ! Even when they started reporting, it was so half hearted that it was self-evident and laughable and many a times deplorable. Needless to state that almost the entire ‘Raj Thackeray Syndrome’ in Maharashtra, is a Media Creation. The examples are so many to suffice the limited space in this column. Unfortunately, the chieftains of these myriads of channels have no time to show the actual problems of real India at the grass root level, its culture, traditions, faiths and beliefs and so on. They show you only those handpicked stories which sell (or smell ?), and increase its TRP. The media scrutinizes everyone in this world but does it scrutinize its own self, own deeds ? Is it not the high time for them to keep their house in order before questioning and sermonizing all others ?
The time has come to seriously rethink and revisit country’s Mass Media Policy. Whether the country needs ‘Pure unbiased News’ or value (?) added ‘Masala News’ ? There are many more media related issues which should be discussed threadbare to have an unbiased and healthy mass media policy in the country. But before that materializes, may we urge the learned stalwarts of Indian mass media to exercise prudence and restraint, show only the truth, the unadulterated, undoctored and unbiased news and views, unbiased analysis, and non-sensationalization of events or incidences whether big or small. Here, I have a small request to the media honchos - let all mass media, particularly the audio-visual media do a small exercise in the interest of the Nation – just for a month or so completely ignore the petty politicians and political news of the land. Fill the vacant time and space with news worthy of mentioning. Let’s talk about our achievements in science, arts, culture, acts of bravery, our heroes and achievers, sports, business tycoons and their achievements, awards and rewards, education and opportunities, social realities, challenges and solutions, our geniuses, happening moments, fun n frolic, entertainment and so on – the list is endless. Perhaps, this small experiment may act as a tool in changing the social mindset of the fellow countrymen and help in de-politicization of this over-politicized country. I am sure, this article is bound to raise many an eye brows and many a views – sweet and sour. I invite the learned readers to this debate and provide their valuable inputs on these burning issues, and many more, confronting our country.
As someone who has lived in Bihar I totally agree with this article.
The whole 'death-by-media' issue I feel is beyond repair by society.
The problem may be exacerbated in a place like India where as a result of the very lives we may lead everything we see in films, on TV or read in the paper may be taken as the gospel truth.
What does help, in some small way, is to introduce a 'Media Watch' type program which exposes the sensationalism, inaccuracies and downright lies in media reporting. It might stir up a can or worms in itself however it might then make the general populace think and rationalise for themselves rather than believe everything they see on TV or read in the newspapers.
Use the media against itself (says he, writing to a newspaper)