You Asked For It

Long gone are the times when the 9 o’clock news used to be a much awaited broadcast. In those times people used to finish their chores and watching the news was a family affair. Generally, the news reported was a matter of some great importance or concern.

With the advent of new technology, news reports became more dynamic – video reports and live broadcasts were introduced. Such a change or improvement was heartily welcomed but the news channels couldn’t remain isolated for long from the effects of an evolving and booming economy and the ‘24-hr news channel’ concept got introduced.

For those who couldn’t spare time from their busy lives and keep a tab on the 9 o’clock news, these channels brought great relief. However, the bane promptly followed the boon.

Today, it is actually quite a task to count the number of news channels running on the television sets. From those that broadcast in English to others who stick to their vernacular audience; news channels are of all kinds – crude, sophisticated, polished et al can be found at the drop of your hat. The irony, however, is that in the haste to capture markets and TRPs, news channels have forgotten their primary job – Reporting News.

On an average, almost every news channel today apparently reports a ‘Breaking News’ every three hours. Clearly, news – which is meant to consist of new information about recent events – has been terribly played with.

In order to sustain interest of the viewer, news channels have stooped to lower levels; everything from witchcraft to celebrity weddings and ‘sting operations’ (real or staged) get aired with an aura of national importance. With so many competitors around, each channel looks for newer ways to attract viewers and in the process completely sidelines its primary objective.

However, the news channels cannot be entirely blamed for ‘creating news’ because in today’s era of consumerism, nothing can exist without the will and support of the consumers. If it weren’t for these news channels, the common man wouldn’t have gotten a platform to voice his concerns and issues. Just to be able to bond with the viewer, the news channels give the common man a fair chance.

We, the people, who prefer things at our convenience are the ones who help such channels to proliferate. If we are happy to watch whatever filth is shown to us and in whichever way, then we are to blame. As long as the channels get their TRPs, they will continue to churn out such base content.

Hence, at the end of the day, it is yet again we who can make a difference. It is indeed quite amazing to see the magic in the cosmic design. By bringing about change in a very small, not-so-evident yet important speck of life – ‘you’, ‘we’, ‘I’…we can get things on track, make other pieces fall in place just as we like. And this is what the news channels actually should be aiding in anyway – to create change.

Meghna Baveja

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