The debate about whether Indrani Mukherji killed Sheena Bora after all is of utmost importance to every Indian news viewer. Because the fact that hundreds are left homeless in Assam floods is certainly tragic but won’t get you enough TRPs. Whether Lalu Prasad Yadav is the best ‘tantrik’ of the country or not is something every ordinary Indian; with or without a home, with or without a job; is concerned with. Because a research project for agriculture approved by the central government that will most definitely create new jobs is not sensational enough.
While every news channel today competes to give the best and most ‘unbiased’ news, with a self-proclaimed best news channel tag on itself; actual news, covering all aspects of events: good or bad, is a rare sight. The problem most vivid with the trend of Indian media today is that it fails to (whether deliberately or not) go beyond the ambit of myopic and sensational events which guarantee more TRPs for the channels. Hence the growing problem of ISIS takes a backseat, while Shahid Kapoor’s wedding is pushed to top breaking news.
The absurdity of media’s focus is not just within these limits. When reporters ‘sympathetically’ ask the family members of two girls who were raped and hanged from a tree as to how they’re feeling, the emotional-captialising trait of the very same media shines bright. And all that’s left to see is a panel of ‘distinguished’ speakers, talking about (I dare not say screaming about) how to fix this at the end of the day. But the question is, does something substantial come out of this top trending hash-tagged news hour debate? Is the problem, after an hour of piercing decibel levels, solved after all?
The political opinions, which would either be ‘All Hail RSS!’ or ‘Liberal, Secular, Communist and Proud’ are skewed towards one side so dexterously that the idea, under the shroud of unbiasedness is actually biased. So when a bakery offers you just one cake, how do you choose which one suits your taste? Furthermore, how do you figure out there exists a better cake?
When was the last time you read positive news breaking the headlines? The last space exploration program, maybe? So is India functioning only on the foundation of negativity and futile events that aren’t worth thirty-minute programs? Of course, news about rapes and murders is essential for awareness. But the problem is that media doesn’t stop at just awareness. It takes it to sensationalism and then to exploitation. And this breaking news, which will be shoved the television screens for at least fifteen days, would make sure to let any event crawl up to the top. Is that what accurate, authentic and unbiased news about?
This idea of sensationalism is simple. Capturing victims in their vulnerable moments, capturing politicians commenting on these vulnerable moments, capturing opposition countering these comments- the chain is infinite.
Till when can we stay entangled within the web of what Alia Bhatt said at her movie promotion or what Prime Minister Narendra Modi has for lunch, and dinner, and breakfast or how a fan fell on Lalu Prasad Yadav during a rally? Till when are we willing to be cordoned off from world affairs? Not knowing about US Elections or Arab protests or Lebanon attacks or South-east Asia’s innovative researches? And is this a chance we’re willing to take infinitely?
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