Immature Indian Media
Was just watching an episode of Newslaundry in which Ms Madhu Trehan interviews Shri Rajdeep Sardesai. Quite surprised to hear Rajdeep finally admit that he committed a mistake when he got physical with an NRI in New York. Both of them seem to blame it on Trolls. Funny, it looked to me more like Rajdeep was the troll, asking outright inciting questions to an Indian crowd in a foreign land, trying to elicit the kind of response he wanted, but did not get and in the end, in frustration venting out his aggression by being physical. It isn’t clear why being called “Paid Media” riled him, after all, he was the one, all the while asking obnoxious questions, so a small measure of his own medicine shouldn’t have hurt.
Fact it, for the Indians in US it was a big event to have their Prime Minister visiting. Most people back home do not realize that most NRI’s tend to be more of a nationalist than the average person in India. In large part, the reason is that being away from home one realizes the values of the Hindu and Indian system are really incomparable and one has pride for one’s country. Now to put out anti-national questions trying to rile and instigate a nationalist crowd can only be termed as outright stupid. Somehow these Journalists have been pretending that part of their journalistic duties are to ask hate filled, illogical, often stupid, provoking and even sadistic questions to persons and that they must be tolerated in the name of journalism and media. Since when did stupidity & aggressive questioning pass of as journalism. Agreed that aggressive questioning may be used as an exception in interviews where there is reason to do so, but using it most of the time, making it into an almost patent style for a Journalist is unacceptable. Ms Madhu Trehan goes on to ask if Rajdeep and his channel were changing their News style “So are you giving the news or Is it the usual shouting?” What? Did I hear “Usual Shouting”. Now Lady, did you know just how much some of us hate what the media has done to news, reporting and journalism in this country?
Whenever there is a Debate, it is absolutely intolerable to hear those voices on the TV, always fighting, always aggressive. It has reached a level where it is impossible to follow the discussion any more as the sheer aggression has crossed all boundaries of decency. This is what the media has done—they lack the consciousness required to promote higher cultural values and have instead by the means of programs such as ‘The Big Fight’ promoted an aggressive and obnoxious culture. If anyone is guilty of reducing our culture to a value where misbehavior is the norm, it is in large measure due to these News TV channels who try to sensationalize News, trying to dramatize and spice it up, in the manner they present it that alters the behavior of people. It is not just that, but it is also the way in which these TV channels and their Anchors disrespect people, all the while promoting this culture of disrespect which is at great odds with Hindu, Indian and might I add Muslim culture as well; thus giving rise to a new rougher culture. Actually, this kind of shouting will never be accepted in the West either.
Can you imagine a leading Anchor of CNN or BBC referring to the Pope or a leading spiritual leader as that Guy? Irrespective of their other deficiencies, in the western world, at least the Western Media does not allow itself the unprofessionalism and the privilege of being casual and disrespectful to individuals, to their leaders, and especially to their spiritual leaders. Further in the episode Madhu Trehan asks Rajdeep rather sarcastically “I will do to you what Shri Shri Ravishankar did; Ask you if you are really happy”. And somewhat down the interview (2-3 lines) Rajdeep replies that as a journalist one gets to meet all these guys (including Shri Shri RaviShankarji). Just for clarification, neither am I a follower of Shri Shri nor do I have any contact with him, but it is just that I find it really unacceptable the way the media address people—politicians, spiritual leaders and even individuals. This is decay of our culture and the Indian media has promoted a culture of disrespect and crudeness. On numerous occasions I have observed how the media had very improperly addressed numerous Sannyasi’s and on occasion even none less than the Shankracharya has been addressed casually and improperly. Now is Shri Shri RaviShankar just another guy on the street? Really? I would have thought he deserves much more respect than that. Why such a casual and unproffessional attitude?
Actually, the Indian Media suffers from an acute dose of overconfidence, a lack of professionalism, over sensationalization and over dramatization of news and other programs. They also lack the correct attitude of a journalist which should be neutral. Why is such crude behavior being passed off as Journalism in India? And when will Indian Media become mature and reasonable? But then let me address an issue which is far greater in depth than that of mere rudeness or disrespect though they are deeply linked. At least, I always had the impression that the media and journalists were our champions and would project our causes, project righteousness, right thinking and stand up for humane issues. But the above incidents from amongst a host of similar events will clearly make one understand that the media is not a champion of the masses, but that individuals and channels wish to project themselves for gains in finance and popularity. Do any of these journalists actually understand democratic values and hold them dearly? Do they actually uphold them and are they really the fourth estate? These are the questions one may ask.
Sometime back, I was watching a video of Shri Rajat Sharma at IIT where he seemed to project immense hurt when the media was called paid and criticized by Shri Arvind Kejriwal. What struck me was the great agony that Shri Rajat Sharma projected over Shri Arvind Kejriwal’s statement of punishing dishonest/ paid journalists, nearly as though the criticism had been directed personally to him. I was rather stunned by his reaction, he being such a senior well known journalist and find it difficult to digest the attitude that Shri Rajat Sharma was showing and that being that one has to consider all members of the journalistic fraternity as honest, almost like a Dogma. “No Indian Journalist is dishonest”. Is that what Shri Rajat Sharma would have us believe? Can such a position be termed as neutral, realistic, or even possible?
Why is the Indian Media so averse to being questioned, to being criticized? After all, Is that not what they do?
The Indian media desperately needs a fresh perspective, much introspective thinking and a drastic change in their working to become truly professional for in their present working they are decades and boundaries removed from professionalism.