ArpitGarg's Weblog

An opinion of the world around me

Sai speaks: The pillar is shaking

with one comment

“What you are going to witness today is an out and out miracle. It has happened for the first time in the history of the universe. It is earth shattering and totally phenomenal. You can catch this live and exclusive only on your most trusted news channel!”

Last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to spend a considerable time in front of the idiot box, as they call it. At college I usually follow news online, but at home its 24×7 news channels for me. Truly speaking, more often than not they turn out to be a great time pass. Last few weeks we saw the Noida murder case and the Gujjar agitation occupying the prime-time. Barring a few incidences, most of it, I felt was an example of some good journalism, if not brilliant.

Amidst all this I felt the emergence of a parallel journalism, owing to the cut-throat competition among the ever increasing number of news channels. This journalism is not shying away from running close to being yellow. One such news item caught my attention lately.

It was the most celebrated and most debated news report of “Speaking Sai Baba”. I was all the more interested in the news item as my family worships Sai Baba and I personally too, am a great fan of his preaching. A video was on air which depicted the speaking Sai. A prime time news report followed. The reporter of a leading news channel took calls, asked for reactions and discussed this miracle.

I felt a bit confused. I could easily make out, what was being aired was nothing but an animation clip, that too an amateurish effort. Well, one may argue that I am a computer engineer from IIT and it would have been a bit easy for me to distinguish between an animation and a video recording. True, but believe me, it would have taken no Bill Gates, to check the validity of the said video.

My point is, was the channel not wrong, in not getting it tested by an expert before catering it to the viewers. Leave aside the sanctity of God that they put on hold, what sort of journalism says that any unverified news report can be telecasted? Has the thirst to go on air first and bring exclusive news grown so much that the ethics of journalism are being put to ransom.

But maybe, I am missing the point here. The said news was not for all and sundry. It was a very clever drama enacted for a large chunk of people like us who believe in Sai. We people are nothing but a viewer ship base. Our feelings and sentiments are nothing but a TRP.

Should someone not ask the channel in question, what was the revenue earned during the period the news was on air, by how much were the ad rates hiked during that particular news program and what was the jump in overall viewer ship ratings of the channel. But I know, the channel couldn’t care less and as I have said already media sell what sells.

One might argue that media is not solely to be blamed. Viewers should be responsible enough and not just blindly follow everything and anything that’s put on air. True, but then what’s the difference between an entertainment channel and news channel. Today our nation believes what’s on the news. And why not, news channels are seen today as a forum for the common man, a potent weapon against the system. This makes the need for news channels being responsible, all the more important.

Perhaps what’s there to realize is that such acts add little to the strength of the fourth pillar.

Written by arpitgarg

June 19, 2008 at 8:58 pm

One Response

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  1. It’s not the news channels’ fault to be true. They are doing business and they’ll show whatever sells here…the fault comes down to people like you who despite knowing that all they are showing is crap, continue to watch and increase the channel’s TRP’s instead of educating ignorant people around.


    June 20, 2008 at 4:01 am

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