This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Shahla Khan. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

3 Recent Incidents When Indian TV Channels Made A Mockery Of News

More from Shahla Khan

I say this with utmost sadness that today on Indian TV, the lines between news and entertainment are absolutely blurred. For scoring higher TRPs, news channels have turned into circuses with absolutely no respect for journalism. On 19th February 2016, Ravish Kumar did a prime time show called ‘Media ka Andhera’ where he specifically talked about how screaming and threats on LIVE debates have become the norm and how shameful it is that such violence is going unquestioned by the masses. Although the news every day is a regular mess, here are three recent instances where Indian TV channels made a mockery of news:

1. Sridevi’s Death

Indian superstar Sridevi died recently and India was devastated. It was hard news to swallow because she was only 50 years old and was healthy and fit. Reports of her death are valid because people wanted to know what happened to her. But there is a difference between reporting and making a mockery. From making speculations about her death to straight up digging her past relationships and cosmetic surgeries, the media did not seem to give an ounce of thought to the mourning family. Barkha Dutt wrote a piece about it in the Washington Post condemning how the Indian TV has made an absolute debacle of her death. Debate programs that usually talk about political and social issues, invited guests from Bollywood and some health specialists and went on and on speculating foul play.

How is this any useful? A bunch of people who were not there, who are not the investigating authorities, who are not allowed to legally question anyone, how is their discussion on this incident for hours on prime TV helping anyone? There are legal authorities responsible for investigating the whole thing and since she was not an ordinary citizen, we can assume her case would be dealt with utmost care. Yet the news anchors forgot that while they were chatting about what might have caused Sridevi’s death, there was a BJP leader who ran over 9 children that caused their death. But who wants to hear that right? That ain’t entertaining enough.

2. “Padmaavat” And The Karni Sena Charade

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s last film “Padmaavat” took months worth of prime screen time because of the so-called outrage it caused to the Rajput community. Over and over the same people that were making violent threats about lynching masses, setting cinema halls on fire and causing harm to life and property were invited on debate channels. The purpose of the Karni Sena seemed to be publicity for gaining a large fan following that could be used in the upcoming elections. It did serve the purpose right because on one such show where Arnab Goswami did a sting operation on a BJP minister in Karnataka, the minister in question admitted that this was all a drama to unite the Rajput community and extremists in the name of honor and use the larger fan base in the upcoming elections hence despite issuing several violent threats on the news so many times, no one was arrested.

Issuing violent threats and provoking people to take up violence is a criminal offence, and instead of putting these people in prison, our media has been providing them with a solid platform. But while it lasted, it sure increased the TRP of the channels because watching those extremists issue such threats on national TV was a shock.

3. JNU Doctored Videos

In 2016, videos went viral where some students of Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi were accused of chanting pro-Pakistan and anti-India slogans. Three students – Kanhaiyya Kumar, Anirban Bhattacharya and Omar Khalid were in big trouble. News anchors butchered their character on TV with their already made up minds. They were called horrendous names and Kanhaiya Kumar got beaten up inside the court premises where he was being taken for trial. The investigation was made and he and his mates were proven innocent because the videos had been tampered with.

The days before this doctored video information was declared, news channels labelled these students all sorts of ugly names and did not even spare their families. In this process, they provoked the masses by playing on the anti-India slogans over and over and the immense hatred was spread like forest fire. The students in question received death threats on their social media and had to go through so much mental and physical anguish. After the truth was out, guess who took responsibility for playing those videos? No one. There were no apologies, no withdrawals of statements and accusations and no compensation for putting the students and their families through this trauma of declaring them national terrorists.

Journalism Is All About Sensationalism Now

It seems that like education, journalism has also become all about profit margins and ROI’s. The more sensation your channel creates, the more it will be played and hence more profits. The goal of news channels is not to inform anymore, it is ‘to entertain’ and that is what they seem to do. And I think the average Indian viewer consumes it because first of all, they are stunned to watch such violence and derogatory language used on LIVE TV and secondly because they do not have many alternatives.

India is a massive country with the world’s second-largest population toll. There are issues that we need to genuinely know about and learn what our national machinery is doing to resolve them. Consuming this violent and senseless narrative of news is making our nation a replica of that violence and aggression.

You must be to comment.

More from Shahla Khan

Similar Posts

By GetLegal India

By Ashmita

By Rana Ashish Singh

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below