~ Insignificant Pieces
Little did probably Raja Ram Mohan Roy know, when he fought for the freedom of press in India way back then. For over the ages we have somewhere mistook television or media for entertainment and only entertainment. Sensationalizing news and information is the mantra for any established media organization in the country today. Not only this; but a majority of the media-persons today, are either involved in yellow journalism or subjective in their media approach. This reminds me of a short interaction with the star of Indian journalism currently who openly, even on a public platform, emphasized on the need of media to be subjective in their approach on issues pertaining to millions of citizens.
There was a time when media played an important role in changing the course of Indian history, when many a noble souls fought for its freedom and glory. It was not only for mere words that one would say, “Pen is mightier than a sword.” But alas! Gone are the glorious days of media when it would spark genuine debates concerning the goodwill of its viewers and worked for nation building. It seems that the learned circle today have mistook the freedom of press to be their key to project or use the medium for their own glory with utmost independence.
When the press was granted freedom in India, it meant the dawn of the new era and hence we would commonly refer it as the fifth pillar of our democracy. I, personally, prefer it to be called as a watchdog of democracy which helps but bring transparency and judicious following of the constitution of a nation. However, over the years of misuse, today in India media or news establishments having become either puppets of political leaders or a laughing stock for its mediocrity. It is the darkest age for press as today it is the very journalists who feel that media should be “subjective”, it should work in the best interests of its masters, it should be entertaining, above all it should work, act and be like an industry where the journalists have the freedom to manipulate viewpoints and super-impose their own judgments without any legality.
Television and print alike today follow the popular notion of glamorizing and sensationalizing news or information in a manner which incites an individual to whom it is fed. The headlines today are filled with bogus and baseless allegations over allegations, where the bad and the good are pre-decided by the weight of their envelopes. There are times when even the senior most journalists use the virtue of their wisdom and stature, to influence the mass towards his/her own ideological preferences. For an instance, there are numerous such shows and channels and column writers today who choose to be anti or pro establishments depending on the amount of revenue inflow in their accounts.
The very word unbiased has become the most biased word in the dictionary today. Most of the media establishments are directly or indirectly influenced, backed or owned by big political pundits or their close family relatives. The news content in our nation today has no head at all as people are discussing social media profiles of people, how did the statue drink water, how did aliens abduct some villagers, etc… Well yes, there are more professional and mature news organization who, but in their debates, start with the conclusion as they have to steer the entire hullabaloo to a concrete end either favoring someone, some party or their own self-ego. It does not end here; the other self-proclaimed journalists out in the streets have a mindset of their own. The ID cards dangling from their necks and the microphone boom in hand seems to give them a sense of utmost independence which makes them greater than every puny normal human walking beside them. The ID and the boom give them the right to break law in any and almost every situation. Be it the terror attacks in Mumbai when the perpetrators followed our army’s every move through our media, or the shameful GS Road incident where the journalists stooped so low to film the stripping of a girl. However, media hooliganism goes way further in, with redtapism and yellow journalism. Some of our fellowmen have indulged in extortions where news stories are either scrapped or released based on the negotiated amounts. Some have again become articulate journalists who can draw conclusions to any case of the nation from giving judgments in public to setting up media trial of people before even knowing the full story. This is a common scenario today. Such is the situation that one media organization is busy mudslinging with the other when the rest are busy gaining so called TRPs by augmenting the scene.
Incidents of journalists and establishment owners being implicated in cases of extortion, corruption and many such other activities is not uncommon today. The issue to be taken up in the prime time debate depends on the TRP and not the importance any more. It is the darkest age for the fifth pillar of democracy as its very foundation remains in tatters today. A major chunk of the blame has to be taken by us the viewers, audience or spectators as well. News article carrying a story of girl molestation or a gang rape has more views and shares than an article about farmer’s suicide. We tend to love reading what Bollywood stars love to eat in their breakfast than discussing about what should be the food policy of the nation. We have become easier to manipulate, to believe in things with prejudice, to be blind and deaf from one eye and ear when the other is busy focusing on glitter and bass.
What is NEWS? Subjective information which allows to judge any and everything by the bent conclusions it brings with it? What is MEDIA? An agency through which all this biased information is being broadcast for the benefit of an individual or a party? What is a DEBATE? A discussion where we have already drawn conclusions and are least bothered with anybody else’s opinion or viewpoint? What is PRIME TIME? The time when agendas are fed to human through elaborate practice of glamour, entertainment, sensitization and force?
Minutely this is how our media stands today. Here everyone wants the limelight with a know-it-all attitude, biased opinions, big pockets, louder voices, wider sets and shinier coats. The carnivore predators who can tear down giants and eat their guts apart for TRPs and loyalty to their self obsessed egos. In midst of this jungle lingering in a corner is a group of herbivores very less in number running to fight for their survival, for their group’s identity. In this race for being the numero uno somewhere deep within everyone has forgot the great responsibility Media carries on its shoulders, a responsibility too heavy to carry any longer for only screams and entertainment was never journalism nor it shall be…!!!