It was to happen but it always leaves me in a bad taste and I know there will be many sharing this feeling. A whole family was brutally killed, all six of them. And the Indian media, once again, was all out to precipitate with its programming in the most sensational wrap possible. Leaving exceptions, it was the same pathetic story all across.
Six of the family went missing 15 months ago but media coverage has never been sensitive about this case (or like countless others). If terrorism links brought the case high on media houses day-plans, Indian film industry connection only added to it. But the tone of concern on innocent lives brutally taken was never, nowhere across the airwaves.
Objectivity is the perhaps the most widely misused concept in the communication pedagogy!
Even when the case was not cracked, airwaves were more concerned about skimpily-clad outfits of one of the victims running in the background while analyzing bizarre elements on stale developments.
I don’t need to remind you about the brazen territory of rating-obsessed airwaves with ‘comfortable’ neglect of the elements of the erstwhile ‘fourth pillar of democracy’ – it is already established. Barring exceptions, almost of them are similar under the skin and it has started stinking so often.
If it has to change, it is going to take time as the current curry is basically made of ingredients from the absurd Hindi and vernacular media and the ‘too elitist’ English media.
What we need is the middle ground, but there are too few serious players at the moment to be able to work out any synthesis.
There are players who still believe in media’s responsibility towards a half-baked democratic society like India but the crude fact is their count and outreach is not even remotely enough for the second most populous nation.
Till then, it is all about the cliché premises about maturity of the Indian media like:
Where are we heading is a common question we so often ask on this silly display. Not a single coverage was dignified enough to treat the departed with respect. Whatever there had been, it was their personal lives, and no one can be allowed to demean or sensationalize that for mere commercial gains. Their skeletons were recovered after 15 months of disappearance but in place of being disturbed on loss of innocent lives, skeletons became leitmotifs of news channels’ programming.
Likewise, there was much ‘noise’ on news channels about ward boys or cleaners in government hospitals doing what doctors or trained compounders are supposed to do like administering injection or cleaning and dressing wounds. The hyperdrive on airwaves went on to launch campaigns as if they are going to put all the responsible in the dock in one go.
C’mon, get back to the senses.
We all know it is just TRPs. Availability of some clips mounted some packages. The demand for ‘more’ was easily met as finding, clicking and transmitting such clips can easily be done, even in metros like Delhi or Mumbai. It is the same story across almost of the government hospitals.
The way the media reacted on the ‘ward boy-turns-doctor’ issue is good (but surface-deep) but at the same time shows poor level of knowhow about the real India that we dub as ‘Bharat’. India is among the countries with poorest health care infrastructure in the world with hundreds of kilometers of any given stretch of the rural or small-town India devoid of qualified doctors. Here quacks rule the roost.
What these video clips have captured is the reality of India, happening every day, in thousands of villages, hundreds of towns, even in many larger urban centers and metros.
A colleague staying at Dwarka, Delhi said he seldom finds doctor at the government health unit in his area and it is mostly ‘chalta hai’ attitude and people get along with who so ever is present at the unit, be it ward boy, cleaner or compounder.
The Indian media should have reacted much earlier on this known fact. It is reacting now. It will not react tomorrow. The vicious circle of ‘poor reason’ goes on and on – the silly, pathetic display of sustained misery.
There was this disturbing and horrific news from Bareilly but as it was visually not appealing, it could find mention only on the peripheries. A devil killed his wife simply because she had produced five daughters. Apart from the fleeting mention, we didn’t see outrage on this news story.
It becomes blasphemous when we see that there has been spate of incidents of husbands killing wives or daughters for want of a son; a feudalistic, mediocre, archaic sentiment, still so acidic.
India is notorious for gender discrimination and this sort of incident of husbands killing wives for want of sons has been happening unabatedly.
We, every section of the society, need to get eternally outraged on such issues.
But I don’t remember any media house running a consistent campaign to weed out this consistently prevailing genocide in our very own neighbourhood.
The problem is the media campaigns are hot till they get TRPs. Once shows based on a particular issue or the so-called campaign start losing the TRP sheen, the airwaves’ commitment to be the harbinger of change rapidly fades away.
So they see brutal killing of a family as TRP points; so they see issues like ‘ward boy-turns-doctor’ as more TRP points; so they find serious issues like female foeticide and gender discrimination dead stories; so they do all to maintain a ‘safe’ commercial distance from the no-TRP stories.
The million dollar question is – HOW?