Wednesday, December 10, 2008

News channels: anger or business

Early morning, you were surfing the news channels to know the results of the elections in the four states. Who wins, BJP or Congress, is the question in your mind. Will Sheila Dikshit continue her ongoing term of 10 years or will V. K. Malhotra record a win? Will BJP continue to be in power in MP, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh? Or will BJP benefit from the voting in Delhi and MP after the terror attacks in Mumbai?

In Rajasthan, the voting conditions were not favourable due to anger towards the politicians, but a majority came out to vote; now what can this be called? People are full of anger for the ones in power. BJP supports zero tolerance for the terrorist activities. Is it that people are against the BJP’s election campaign and hence have decided to vote? These are some questions which the news channels would take up for analyzing the election results.

Clearly, in the parliamentary system, this is a parameter of democracy which the news channels take up. Recall what all have the news channels shown since last 250 hrs of the broadcast. When Mumbai was burning, MP was voting. A prospective candidate in Tikamgarh was killed in the process and no news channels thought it was important to show that news.

By the intensity with which events happened in Mumbai, it was not even important to show all that. This happened on 27th December. On that fateful morning no news channel showed MP voting; voting which is a sign of the largest democracy. Taj was the centre of news for all the news channels. All the news channels had their cameras directed towards Taj and Oberoi, all the time. This day was also the last day of campaigning for the Delhi elections. No leader had the courage to get down to the streets and campaign for their party in Delhi. In Delhi on the 27th, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, LK Advani, Rajnath Singh, Mayawati and Narendra Modi were to address people. These are the leaders who keep on manipulating situations to get into power. But by looking at the pictures of Mumbai blasts on the news channels these leaders may have been thinking what if the angry janta turns into a mob and releases their anger on them. They would have to face the angry janta then. Hence they remained silent. This silence also remained on the voting day in Delhi, i.e., 29th December. However, the bullets had stopped in Mumbai but the anger was already boiling against the politicians. The dead bodies in Mumbai replaced the long queues of willing voters in Delhi. With every picture the news channels were questioning the significance of political disagreement on issues of coalition and terrorism. The section which already belonged to the five star lives and the other aspiring sect had only one question in minds; where do they go now?

This particular section hesitates on voting. However, it’s the same section that is seen promoting voting habits in advertisements. In the country’s politics no politician belongs to this section, the whole Government is this section only. The policies are framed considering their development particularly. Hence they are never considered a vote bank in politics. For the first time a disinterest is visible in them regarding their own requirements however. The Govt. understands this but the question is that why did the terrorist attack on the domain of this section in particular. By this act, terrorism does profit by the political inter-conflict. Above politics and election, a question which comes up is that is the conflict of TRPs a strategy tooled for politics and the five star masses? The angst of the five star classes and the surrounding middle class which wants to preserve everything for the future has trapped them who consider elections as a festival and hence raise the flag of Democracy. News channels or collectively the media propagates its important at this time only, as it is the only possible way of communication. And here its need of cashing through news conceals, as its profit transforms into public interest.

Hence the issues that have been raised due to Taj-Oberoi have become a question mark on the present saga of elective democracy. Media has been a trumpet to the happenings. It has tried to be a mouthpiece of what all is happening. The way it has presented the news has dramatized the event to keep the anger and terror alive in the minds of the people. All this was present during the Mumbai attacks, hence media showed it. The death of respected VP Singh was never made news.

After the Mumbai terror the 250 hr slots were aired on the news channels just to show how a CM of Maharashtra considering Taj a picnic spot, went for a stroll; and how a vice CM made a mockery out of the whole situation. But when you are sitting in front of your TV sets watching the election results, what’s the use of past 250 hrs of rebel and violence.

The news channels strongly despised the Mumbai attacks by saying ‘enough is enough’ and ‘élan-e-jung’ and tried to sympathize with those affected. When these same news channels air election results and declare the winning democracy; will they be considered insensitive towards the Mumbai attacks? How is it possible that people who came together against the politics and terrorism will become passive with the news coverage of elections? The news channels bravely covered each and every minute of terror in their cameras and stood with the Nation in times of pain. Will the same news channels make the public angst passive by covering elections? Will the same old way of reporting the speeches of politicians, the issues etc practiced? And will the same repetitive Raju Shrivastav comedy serials be aired? Will the same people who were on the streets protesting against the terror attacks get lost in the world of comedy? Will this be the scene? If one is to understand the nuances of the reality of this Nation, this all will happen.

If the five star class is considering itself successful enough through this movement brought by the news channels then it’s obvious that the scene would become comical, the way it was post-26/11. And if there a genuine anger inside the people you’ll see anxious people instead of the elected faces and then you may realize that you can’t wait for the next five years.

1 comment:

Randeep Wadehra said...

I agree with the drift of Prasoon's arguments in his postings. It takes courage to speak up against the failings of a system one is a part of. However, the terrorists struck Taj and Oberoi not because these are the icons of upper-class lifestyle in India but because these strike would fetch them maximum publicity, and hurt India's image as a relatively safe place for investment, employment and sporting tournaments. They succeeded in all their stated and unstated aims courtesy our stupid politicians, decadent bureaucracy and the TRP chasing media.
So, what's the remedy?

Randeep Wadehra