NEWS – Never Ending Whacky Stuff?

One fine Sunday afternoon as I woke up after a little nap, the commotion on one of the TV channels was way too frantic. Live coverage of an armada of cars with reporters half-hanging from their wagons just trying to get a glimpse of that something was little curio inspiring. Before I could even speculate BREAKING news flashed the way for ‘Baba Ramdev’s caravan to Delhi’. Couldn’t help the little smile that came all of a sudden! News channels today are more emotionally charged than the daily soap vamp ­who is frenzied about almost anything good that happens in the drama. What became the reason of my mirth was not the question raised by the reporter about ‘BabaRamdev crossing the road’, but the invigoration and energy the news guy had while presenting his case. Strangely enough, this enthusiasm is the same while presenting something on insurgency and terrorism or any miracle cow found in some part of rural India. If we actually think and recall what we see in news today…well, just think.

  1. Cricket. Cricket, apparently, is religion in India. No, we don’t have communal riots in the name of this religion. We just burn the effigies of ‘gods’ and throw stones at their homes, when they fail. No doubt why cricket is ‘the news’ for these channels. Be it an epidemic, a riot, strikes or curfews, if it’s a cricket series, then the channels will bleed blue, no matter what. The experts or hypocrites (sorry, ‘m always confused) praise the same guy whom they wanted to take retirement some two years ago. What to say,but  c’est la vie!
  2. Daily soaps. Honestly, I see no point ‘updating’ people about daily soaps. I mean, seriously? National TV showing some make-up laden fat women planning the obliteration of their own family for gratuitous reasons, random girl becoming mother of random guy’s child, some twenty people living in mansion and talking of poverty – please, give me a break!
  3. Crime. Daily dedicated hour to focus on the personal miseries of people from all across the country with added flavour- this is the crime section. The point being what? Well, I don’t know.
  4. 2012. I have no idea why they want the earth to end. I don’t have any idea why they have a fetish towards the Mayan calendar. I don’t have any idea why people actually watch this. I bet more people will die of panic before this apparent ‘end-of-world’ comes. Be it prolonged draught or preseason rains, it is tagged as ‘mautkidastak’. Would have done people a lot of good if they actually called it global warming and educated about that, rather than calling the astrologers and fortune-tellers to explain the events.
  5. UFOs, aliens, et al. Supernatural always fascinates. We love to read fantasy and watch sci-fi. It’s completely justified for the entertainment industry to cash on this genre. But news channels? Take some random pictures from across the globe, quote some random stats, let a crackerjack speechifier present the most stupid things in an exciting fashion- that’s it, special report ready.
  6. Other important things. Loads of them. For instance, cars running without drivers, appearance of talking cows, Sreesanth playing for a band, moving trees, snakes drinking milk, etc. All BREAKING NEWS material.

Indian news channels care about their ratings rather than the country. They show everything that is useless, inconsequential and ridiculous. May be its difficult for them to get 24×7 news, but debauching people’s mentality by hyping something trivial like 2012 is certainly not the right attitude. While half of the population is sitting home and watching silly stuff on the news, we can’t expect them to come forward and think something rational. Not everyone has access to other means of information like magazines or the internet, and so what they hear on TV is what they think is correct.

While I appreciate the efforts of news channels for conducting the debates amongst the two political competitors and emphasizing on relevant stuff too, but what needs to be done is little more than this. They need to be more responsible. They hold the key to democracy. Media has to come forward in a more responsible manner if this democracy has to function smoothly.

Alok Singh

Student. Loves music, Loves mufc. a tolkien-er, 42 worshiper, little bit of cynic, little bit of narcissist, little bit of misanthrope. well, who isnt? 😉