Media, the fourth pillar of democracy, has become an object of jokes and ridicule in India. The constituents of this pillar, which should have been strong and concrete, which should have been fighting for the rights of the people, are fighting among themselves, sometimes for T.R.P, sometimes for their politicians, and sometimes to feature in the news themselves.
The media in India has become worthless. The debates, the self-righteous anchors screaming at the panellists as if out of great concern for the country and its people, the panellists themselves who have no idea about the issue being discussed but know how to divert from the topic, have all become a bunch of idiots who, in turn, are making us idiots.
As one prominent anchor, Ravish Kumar puts it, there is a national project going on in India to destroy our future. Our future, the future of our children, is in vast danger, and rightly so. Legislature is already dominated by goons and criminals, executive is the government and no government love uncomfortable dissent and quizzes, judiciary is already ill-equipped, and loaded with millions of cases pending for years and decades. Media, especially the television media, the only hope, of “we the people”, has become warring factions of corporate run channels whose sole aim is to attract viewers, in turn that leads to a good T.R.P and that, in turn, leads to a good profit system for the media. The fundamental problem is not even the T.R.P, because any media organization, needs that support to run itself, it is not a charitable organization that is being funded by some benevolent personality. It needs T.R.P and there’s nothing wrong in seeking one, but the problem lies in the content and the communication that ensues to get more viewership.
One day back, one Congress politician, Mani Shanker Aiyer, referred to the Prime Minister as Neech. It was a deplorable comment, because if the politicians indulge in such sort of vicious barbs that stems from the hatred they incubate against each other, it doesn’t only lower the dialogue of political discourse, but also legitimizes the usage of such words in normal life. There has been a systematic downgrading of the level of political discourse and every single politician, with a broad base, is responsible for this amplification of hatred and viciousness in the society. Lately, he apologized for his comments but the media, put out debates with screaming heads and mouths inflating more hatred against each other. What Mr. Aiyer did was indefensible, but does an obnoxious comment made by him was worthy of being debated and telecasted for hours on television. Our education sector is in doldrums, the examination recruitment agencies work with extreme laggard pace rendering the students frustrated. We rank at 100’th in the Global Hunger Index, 103rd in the Human Capital Index, 79th in the Corruption Perception Index, 108th in the Gender Gap Index. One fourth of hungry people live in India, we top in the number of deaths by T.B. in the south Asian region, air pollution is killing thousands every year, and yet, the most important issue that our prominent media stars that chose to debate was about a comment made by Mani Shanker Aiyer.
The television houses and their employees, especially the star anchors, have no touch to the ground realities with India. Neither they show news, facts and information, nor they conduct a cogent and real debate that gives out some valuable information to the public. I write this with agony that the institution that was meant to protect us, and our rights, that fought against the British despite the censors and intimidation being subjected to them, have become a bunch of entertainment channels showing some real class Big-Boss drama every time one tunes in to the channels. I am not optimist even, every single passing day, every single debate, makes me more pessimist about the state of media and makes me anxious and enraged about our rights and voice. “We, The People” have lost our voice, the only thing that can bring it back is some sort of realization within the media fraternity, and hope.