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Media Senstivity: Why Indian Media is Becoming a Toxic Pest

It would not be an exaggeration to cite media as one of the five pillars of democracy along with executive, opposition, society and judiciary. They raise the correct issue, bringing it to light and making others aware of it. But by this definition is the Indian Media doing its job properly?

After the #GoHomeIndianMedia hashtag became viral, Indian media received a lot of flake. Their insensitive coverage of earthquake drew lot of criticism. In a way this incident answers the question asked above. No, Indian media is not doing its job properly. It is now driven by the idea of commercialization, a willful machine of propaganda and according to World Economic Forum, it is the second most untrusted media institution in the world. Second only to Australia. The only exception is DD News, Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha which are known to cover more important issues rather than the trending ones or ones which promote orthodox or blind faith.

Let us take an example of a stereotypical Indian Debate on these news channels:

  1. Usually, the screen is divided into matrix. These boxes hold a person in each. They all have opposite views. Some might be conservative while some might be liberal, some may be feminist while some may be sexist… basically they hold stark opposite views. These two are backed by other people. Some in support of conservative, some in support of liberal, some in support of feminist and some in support of the sexist.
  2. Make them shout at each other. It does not really have to make sense. They can be screaming songs at each other. After all, half the time in the chaos, the words stop making sense anyway.
  3. Create a slide show of vibrant hashtags and questions. The questions should most definitely end in a question mark followed by an exclamatory mark. All of them eye catching to further distract from the mash of garbage being spewed by those professionals.
  4. In between the segment take breaks. Preferred is, “It is time for a short break. Do not go anywhere for we will be right back.” It translates to, ‘go clean your ears. I will clean mine too.’ Need we add that these breaks are anything but short?

During the Mumbai Attack 26/11, they openly showed sensitive information like the NSG Commandos rescue mission to where the hostages were hiding. All the terrorists needed was to open the television and they would have been able to see what was happening outside. It makes you wonder how just how much blood does the Indian Media have on their hands? Will it be offending to say that there might be a few chances that a lot of people must have died because of their nasty, hasty and sansani coverage?

Media reported that Harshit Sharma, a school boy was hired by google with a salary of 12 lakh per month. None of the channel mentioned that the salary is in dollars and the posting is in US. Later Google denied the news. His mother said: “Phone call devastated my son’s life.”

Indian media reported Priyanka Chopra as having said, “I do not need a man for anything except for children.” This led to a lot of backlash and trolling. Do you know what she actually said? If you continue to want to use it as an excuse of ‘how feminism is a stupid concept’ scroll down. She said that a she does not need a man but rather want a man. When architect B.V.Doshi, 90 won Pritzker Architecture Prize (something akin to Nobel Prize but in Architecture), no media covered the news. Rather they were busy with cakes cut by Janvi Kapoor (Sridevi’s daughter) and Hasin Jahan’s accusing Mohammad Shammi.

NEW DELHI, INDIA – APRIL 22: A farmer for Rajasthan ( Gajendra Singh) threatens to commit suicide (Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

It takes the Indian Media a farmer hanging himself to a tree to cover the woes of farmers. And then they forget. We are talking about the story of Gajendra Singh who climbed a tree and hung himself during an AAP rally. In the picture, you might see him holding a broom which is the symbol of Aam Aadmi Party. He did it to protest against the land reform. And that is not it. For more farmers committed suicide in Odisha by consuming poison or hanging to a tree. Do we need to mention how every political party are busy blaming each other? You will find a media criticizing Aam Aadmi Party, but you will not find news about how the party developed Government Schools. News Channels like India TV show ‘news’ entitled: ‘Does the alien cows drink milk?’, ‘Watch TV for the sake of god’, ‘Aliens have their eyes on Himesh Reshamiya’ and ‘Kejriwal might be involved in Earthquake’.

The common problems of Indian Media include:

  1. They are party biased.
  2. They interfere with the security of country.
  3. They are not content driven but TRP driven.
  4. They show news which are entertaining not news which are important.
  5. They are plain nonsense.

Then there is glorification of people with Indian Descent. They continue to show news where a person with Indian Origin is appointed CEO of some big company in US or does well IQ tests. They forget that they are not Indians. They have Indian origin. Their nationality is not that of an Indian. Also let us take a moment and think if they actually did something for benefit of the country India?

Then there is print media. Among the vibrant, colourful and misleading advertisement somewhere you will find a glimpse of good news (or bad news, however you look at it), good editorial and debate pieces. Segments such as ones where common people write articles also makes it attractive.

In India, digital media has a long way to go. You can say it is a mix of both Print Media and News Channels.
As someone rightly put it, Indian Media has the tendency to sensationalize almost everything on this planet. From two kids mingling over a toy to the cost of lehenga a bride wore to her marriage. This needs to change. There should be self-awareness, ethics and responsibility.