Let’s throw a bucket of tomatoes and rotten eggs at the media. Everyone is doing it. Even though, I feel like joining on the bandwagon, I don’t think it’s really clever. Let me tell you why:
Firstly, most of the production houses, newspaper agencies, radio corporations etc. mostly ask you to have technical skills if you want to apply for a particular job. I was in O levels when I was made the assistant editor of a magazine. I had no sense of editing, or reporting. I had never studied any of the two things. They hired me because I could write in English. Writing in English and being a journalist are two very different things but the fact is, most of the companies existent in our media require you to have only technical skills. They would hire you as camera man if you know how to switch on a camera, without making sure if you know the principles and the aesthetics behind filming something.
Secondly, ethics of a person and ethics of a corporation are two entirely different things. I may be very ethical in my personal dealings and could have a great sense of what’s right and what’s wrong but position me in the middle of an organization and I’d have to blend in with the prevalent corporate culture. What is important to me personally takes a backseat whether I like it or not and chances are, I have joined the organization knowing that. So blaming Meher Bukhari (even though it’s convenient) for the way she questions her guests is not really the right way to go about solving the larger problem. The whole organization she works for, infact, not only one channel but the entire media operates on approximately the same level of ethics: insignificant.
Thirdly, even though how the media reported various tragedies that have struck the country has been criticized vehemently, the truth is it HAS gotten everyone hooked to the TV. Your dadi who would earlier be in her room finding her glasses or your brother who would come home looking for food are now both sitting in front of the TV screens wanting to know what happened next. It’s wrong. It’s entirely wrong. But it’s also evident that the public wants it. They want to see a freakin’ movie and the media gives it to them.
The idiot box answers most of the questions that we as a society asks amongst ourselves when someone in our family dies ..”ayay hayay bahot bura hua, ab is ki beti ka kya hoga?” (It’s really sad but what will happen to the daughter?”. This is exactly the kind of questions we see media asking and then later criticize. So let me get this straight. No there’s no way to get this straight. It’s complicated. It’s hypocritical. These are double standards.
I’m not supporting the way media has reported various incidents. It repels you. Sometimes, the kind of drama that is going on the part of the reporters (fake tears and all) makes you want to laugh. The truth is, we need to straighten up ourselves, get our priorities right and work on our own sense of ethics. While media is at fault and has been criticized over and over again, why do you think nothing has changed? People get fired and brought back. Why? Because, we are still watching them.
Published in The News on 10th May, 2012.