Of late, News Channels (NCs) have become our daily mates. News programme has come a long way over the last decade or so. From the Hindi and English news on DD-1 at 8.30 PM every evening of the late 80s and 90s to the hourly news for 2 minutes in the late 90s to combat the advent of satellite television to the modern day Big Fight, Devil's Advocate, The News this Hour - News programme has indeed been a paradigm for sea change. If you think only Sachin Tendulkar or Vishwanathan Anand have fans and followers, you should do well to know that even the Sardesais and the Thapars and the Goswamis have created a niche of their own. If braveheart for you is only Indira Gandhi, then Barkha's achievements so far are copious enough to prove you wrong. The 'monopoly' situation of DD-1 has transformed to a 'many sellers-numerous buyers' situation - thanks to the advent of private NCs like NDTV 24x7, CNN-IBN, Times Now, Aaj Tak and the likes!
With a plethora of NCs coming into the forefront, an obvious economic terminology too gained prominence - COMPETITION, in fact, a cut-throat one. Each channel wants to prove itelf as faster than the fastest NC and also increase it's TRP ratings. This gave rise to the concept of 'Breaking News' which was an alien in the DD-1 era. A 'Breaking News' most often is not something by hearing which you will break your heads. It's just that every NC wants to grab attention of the viewers and get them glued on to their channel, for which, they are glorified. Don't you worry with 'Breaking News' - sun will still rise in the east, birds of the same feather will still flock together, it's the female gender that would still carry. So one doesn't have to be chaotic to 'Breaking News', most often atleast.
NCs now have become yet another entertainment channel, atleast for most part of the day. Say for example, at 6 in the evening, you might get to watch a programme "Amitabh ko Jaipur mein thanD aakhir kaise lagi?" or, could be even "Gufa mein chhipe booDey bangaru!". It would not have created furore with the world economic growth, of course, not by any means would it weaken our 'Mixture of regional parties' alias 'Central Government' in anyway. On any given day, when India wins an ODI, be prepared to watch a special show with 'our experts', titled, "Trinidad mein Tiranga!". If you have bet your fortune that NCs are pro-Indian Team, do be prepared to watch "Sydney mein shikast" the next time India loses. But yes - it is indeed 'Breaking News' :-)
Media plays a vital role in a democracy. Unbiased information is what we seek. It is anyone's guess if we obtain them or not. Earlier this week, it was shocking to read in 'The Hindu' that, several regional newspapers 'sold' space to political parties for a certain sum. If this is not an isolated case but has spread like a virus, then, it reflects the detriorated journalism in the nation. One such instance of 'heinous journalism' I came across was some 10-12 days after the death of Aarushi Talwar. In a television interview of Nupur Talwar, Arushi's mother, the reporter's question went as follows - "Aaj agar Aarushi hoti, toh woh 15 saal ki hoti. Magar woh aap ke beech mein nahin hai. Aap ko kaisa mahsoos ho raha hai??!"
I can go on and on and on with many such bitter instances and sub-standard journalism. But at the same time, I give due credit to them who have always given us real-time information, made news-watching a pleasant experience, exposed several issues which otherwise go unnoticed. At the same time, the fall in the ethical standards too need to be restored to regain it's lost glory. Plenty can be said and plenty can be written, but the fact remains that NCs today have become a part of our lives. What condoms are to a newly married couple, NCs are to the society - SIMPLY INSEPARABLE!!!
Laptop HP ke saath, samvaad-daata Nagendra, Straight from my Heart, Bangalore :-)