Media Menace In India

Melissa M. Taylor

Come prime time, you like it or not, you got to taste the bitterness of the freshly “fabricated” news presented almost everyday by 24-hour news channels. The world has witnessed rulers of different kind. But it has never been tormented the way it is subjected to now in the hands of the extremely powerful, yet highly irresponsible ruler, MEDIA. Media is ruling the world and today it is ruthlessly powerful. They can make a demigod out of dust and can dump heaps of diamond as garbage… yes! Media is ruthlessly powerful.

Indian media is no different; it is adding its own share by being extremely irresponsible, increasingly judgmental and invading personal lives beyond imagination.

In their rat race to grab the viewer attention, they often go over bound and forget their basic responsibility, which is to present the news, factually. “Sensationalize” is the new mantra that has caught on every channel that news that is worthless is sensationalized to unimaginable proportions. The painful part is that the Indian mass has accepted without any thought that the crew of the English news channels is superior and more professional than their language channel counterparts. They represent a breed of young Indians who are part of the new and progressive India. But in reality the news that we see is not what has really happened, but their version of the incident.

Undue importance it given to some unimportant news and it is projected as if it is some national crisis. Big Brother- Shilpa Shetty- racis row, Richard Gere – Shilpa Shetty kissing, an impostor acting as Abhishek Bachan’s first wife, a designer cloth that fell off the shoulders of a model exposing her cleavage during a ramp show…are some of the countless examples.

If you are an ardent viewer of news channels today, you can clearly see TV channels have carefully restructured their news content. There is very less of political, government issues, where as people, lifestyle stories, film news, incidents of violence are given prominence and has some amount of trivia. The entire package is presented in a way appealing to a very limited number of people living in cities. Issues of poverty, policy implementation, and development issues have been consciously neglected.

What is more disgusting is an overdose of expert opinion on just about everything, sports, politics, corporation, election, education, moral policing…. etc., But media airs views of only those who are rich, who can speak English and who are modern, outspoken, and who could be identified with the so called “sophisticated citizens” of modern India.

Media has become extremely judgmental and influencing. The presenters present the news in a tone indirectly insisting the audience to accept their version of the story. They are extremely one sided and the media is for the upper middle class and for the upper class living in urban areas. Every news channel today shamelessly interprets the story to suit their style of presentation and image.

One striking example is the Sanjay Dutt’s story. The drama created by the English news channels on July 31st, 2007, the day the media-friendly Dutt was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment was extremely sickening.

The night before the judgment day, literally media acquitted him and indirectly pressurized the judge to free Sanjay Dutt from his criminal acts. It tried to present Sanjay Dutt as someone who is innocent. News channels were busy showing Dutt doing pooja at a famous temple in Mumbai, scenes of him consoling his crying sister, so on and so forth.

Sanjay Dutt is often quoted as “destiny child of his own misgivings” or “Child Man” by the media as if to present an image that someone forcefully placed the gun on his lap and called the police. But in reality the court of law in its verdict said some of his acts were “eminently dangerous” and showed a “high element of criminality” and he was given a six-year jail term in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case by a special court in Mumbai.

Sanjay Dutt could have been innocent, but still it is not media’s job to be judgmental. Does it show the same interest in every criminal case that is being debated in the court of law? Why there is so much importance attached to Sanjay Dutt? Because he is an actor and media can sensationalize the issue to any proportion they want.

It’s time that we should understand that what is being ‘aired’ is also not true. We should make our own judgment as we do in other walks of life.

Finally, see the news and have fun. Happy viewing.

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