Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The media gets it back .. !!

Last night, the media got a taste of some of its own medicine !!.. The setting was the debate between Arun Jaitley and Kapil Sibal on CNN-IBN on the proposed anti-terror law tabled in Parliament. The debate was conducted by our man Rajdeep (who seems to be getting louder with every passing day !!). Before that, I had heard Arun Jaitley speaking on two seperate occassions (one of which was a couple of minutes on that same debate) and confirming that the BJP would support the new bill even though they felt that the bill was incomplete in some aspects (most notably, the clause that confession before the police would not be admissible as evidence). That clause apart, he had clearly mentioned that this party would go ahead and support the bill. But it seems our man Rajdeep is either hard of hearing or was conducting a debate without even listening to what the speakers were saying. So a couple of minutes later, he asks Arun something on the lines of : 'So because of this clause, you are not going to support this bill ??'. I mean, did he not hear him firmly saying that they will support the bill ?. To which Arun replied: 'Sorry to dissapoint you Rajdeep, I have already stated a couple of minutes back that the BJP is going to support this bill even in its incomplete format'. Now I am no great fan of Arun or any of the politicians, but I would have loved to see him add a few more lines of admonishment.

Sometimes, the media needs to be taken to task....


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Media bashing, anyone ???

A friend of mine has put it very well in his Google Talk tagline : 'The media is busy indulging in politician bashing, but who will indulge in media bashing ??'. And today, in the DNA, people have spoken up against the media for their coverage of the 60 hours last week. Finally, people are waking to the quality of the coverage. For the Indian media, it was the first time that they were covering a semi-battle in almost their own backyard, so to speak. And they did manage to make a horibble mess out of it !!!!

Firstly, I would like to point out the fine distinction between 'news' and 'information'. As per me, news is something that people want to hear, while information is something that helps people in making decisions. Therefore, all information becomes news, but all news is not necessarily information. And in times of crises, what we expect from the media is information. But, throughout those 60 hours, what we got was an endless torrent of 'news' with hardly a fraction of it being really informative. In fact, some of it was counter-informative. First at the Nariman House on Friday and then at the Taj on Saturday, the media informed us that the operation was over (based on a few commandoes coming out of the buildings with a V-sign), only to be later told by the NSG that the operation was far from being complete. And in all those 60 hours, not even once did I see or hear any channel asking people not to come near the battleground. As if there was some filmy shooting going on !!!.

Then there are the usual sought-after sound bytes from relatives of the dead/injured. And on this, the relatively better-off NDTV took the cake (and that too because I did not bother seeing the others , especially the Hindi channels). On Friday evening, it 'interviewed' one of the relatives of the dead/hostages. After answering a couple of questions, the relative suddenly went quite and was on the verge of breaking down. At this, the news anchor nonchalantly said: "I'm sorry, we seemed to have disturbed you". How disgusting ??? I absolutely do not see any point in having the grieving relatives and family appear on national television, only to be asked: "aap ko kaisa lag raha hai ??" How I wish that one of the relatives actually bars the media from entering his/her house, just the same way that Major Unnikrishan's father barred the Kerala CM. And most of the media journalists covering the event need urgent lessons in voice modulation. For example, on Sunday (a full day after the saga was over), a Star News reporter went to the police HQ to interview the cops who had slain the terrorists who killed Karkare, Salaskar et al. While the cops were answering in a quiet and restrained manner, our good reporter friend was screaming at the top of his voice. almost as if he was seeing another encounter in front of his eyes.

And then post the attacks, there is the favourite media occupation of making mountains of molehills. I mean, does it really matter who accompanies the CM to the Taj ??? Is Mr. Ram Gopal Varma persona non-grata ??? Then, why the big deal about the whole thing ??. The media needs to grow up and hopefully after this incident, even they will introspect and be better off for it.