E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Trivialisation and dumbing down of news with the lowest common denominator in mind are becoming the order of the day in Indian media in the name of giving audiences what they like.
Given the ferocious competition for eyeballs, newspapers and TV stations seem bent upon extracting “tactile responses” by increasingly (endlessly and disturbingly) focusing on celebrities and their frivolous acts, actions and activities.
On the other hand, what can relatively be considered far more serious news—developments which could have a long-term impact on our democracy—are barely being given the same kind of push.
To understand, all we need to do is look at how differently the following two sets of events have been covered in recent weeks.
1. Actor Sanjay Dutt sent to jail for possessing an AK-56.
2. Actor Salman Khan likely to go to jail for killing black bucks.
3. Actor Amitabh Bachchan forced to return land since he is not a “farmer”.
In all three cases, the reactions from the media has been to overreact and go overboard. There has been 24×7 coverage in front of their homes, at workspots, courts, and outside jails. There have been interviews with their friends and relatives. Media barons and shark-like editors have been yelling: get the story, the scoop and the shots.
1. Former Union minister Shibhu Soren released for lack of evidence of murdering an assistant.
2. Italian business Ottavio Quatrocchi slips out yet again in the Bofors case because the wrong papers were filed by the CBI, because of lack of incriminating evidence.
3. Sonia Gandhi‘s daughter PriyankaVadra is to buy ‘farm land’ in Shimla next to the mansion of a former President Of India after the Himachal Pradesh government bent all the rules.
In Set B, the media response has been low key. Sure, they have covered the news, but where are the reactions from media stalwarts such as Vinod Mehta, Shekar Gupta and M.J. Akbar? Where is the analysis? Where are the biting editorials? Where is the blanket coverage of what these issues mean? Why the ‘studied’ silence?
It may well be that audiences relate well to news about people they “know” than those they don’t. It may also be that audiences are more interested in knowing what happens to them. But it’s a chicken-and-egg syndrome. Would audiences have known as much about their travails if the media hadn’t covered them the same way in the first place?
What are we coming to as a media democracy?
Cross-posted on sans serif
Mediamen are like Dung beetle…always in search of rotten things/ negative stuff
god save india from these jokers
The biggest problem is that our TV media (which is the main cause of this trivialization) is largely profit driven. Not that media companies shouldn’t be motivated by profit, but where is the dedication to journalism? Most of our newspapers thankfully still indulge in serious topics, but led by such rags as TOI, they too seem to be more interested in a B-grade actress’s underwear showing than talking about real issues.
To be frank, the regional language news shows in channels like EeTV, Udaya etc. are much better in terms of quality. English and Hindi have gone to the dogs.
…but where are the reactions from media stalwarts such as Vinod Mehta Vinod Mehta is busy licking the boots of Nehru/Gandhi/Vadra clan. He can’t talk with his mouth full.
kaangeyaa — who is this Gandhi you are talking about? please change for good!
Good stories about India, about the development, food, even the fantastic marriages, that long flyover kind of thing they are building in the sea at Bombay, everything can be seen only on foreign channels. Indian TV? It is nothing but stories about a rape in a little village in the hinterlands or two incompetent women in Delhi starving or the piccadillos of film stars. One channel was showing the response of a young man to Salman Khan being arrested. He said Salman is a Good Actor, He should not be jailed. How trivial can we get. All the National TV channels are like that and our own Kannada channels are following them.
The print media and electronic media have almost become convenient tools in the hands of the a few powerful persons who want to make money, play power politics to preserve their power and pelf. Ideology has taken the back seat. Large viewer ship is their only goal. RTP rating is the only currency they care to accumulate. Any topic that attracts mass is a must for them however silly or trivial it may be. That is the reason why TOI has climbed to the top slot and boast of the largest circulation.
Especially in their unholy hurry to break the news ahead of their rivals they conveniently break the professional ethics and social responsibility.
Lack of sense of proportion is another major factor for highlighting the most trivial thing that ends up in presenting a mole hill as a mountain.
It is also a question of filling the time gap. No original work is needed as long as they repeat the so called important news in the process helps the saving of time, energy, money and risk
So far people in power politics used to patronize one paper or the other to serve their interest that too in a very discreet manner. Those days are gone. Now blatantly they lure one or two key persons in the media to take care of their interest. Some have even ventured to have their own paper or channel to blow their trumpet .That is the reason for the mushrooming of TV. Channel in the south. Every political leader worth the salt has entered the media contributing to the decline in the quality of the content to a great extent.
The nexus between the news barons and politicians can be broken only if the people bluntly refuse to buy their story.
There are a blogs who pin point the trivialities once in a way In these days of Internets one or two Blogs can exclusively come up for upholding the dignity of the media and ridicule the trivialities of print and electronic media