The Indian media acts as an architect, slowly and subconsciously building opinions in the minds of their viewers who indulge in their construction. They are all attempting to capture the most vital resource – the viewer’s attention and take it hostage for money. Your attention and clicks are worth billions to them in advertising and revenue.
As the digital media industry matures, it’s becoming easier for publishers to reach the point of profitability. The media companies are dramatising news to help maximise monetisation opportunities. The war for attention has gotten to such a point where news is being sensationalised with all sorts of insensitive and ‘clickbait worthy’ headlines.
Television Rations Points
Television Rating Point is a method to evaluate programmes based on views. The views are generally on a per-second basis. Higher the TRP, higher the profit they earn. Advertisements are a major factor as well. According to the FICCI-EY report, news channels currently occupy 13% share amounting to Rs 3,640 crore, in overall advertising volume. These news channels earn lakhs per day from increased viewership.
Indian TV news channels were expected to rake up to thousands of crores during the 2019 elections. If politics can rake up thousands then how much will a case that includes an aspiring Bollywood star, drug-fuelled celebrities and a killer girlfriend make?
A young, famous, and ambitious megastar who died under mysterious circumstances – controversy and suspense has created a storyline in Sushant Singh Rajput’s untimely death’s case. This has been orchestrated by sensationalising the case; nothing gets more views than a female killer and narcotics. Since the starting of the case, we all have witnessed the vilification of Rhea Chakraborty as the girlfriend. The media has taken the role of the judge and jury by pronouncing her as guilty.
Rhea has described the abuse she is facing including assault and death threats. She claims that she has been ‘unfairly targeted’. She has also been labelled as a ‘particular type of woman’ who is disliked by Sushant’s family. In India, the family is of utmost importance. Therefore, if his family dislikes Rhea then the whole of the country must dislike her as well. Is there a gender aspect to this? What would have happened if a man was in her place?
She has been slut-shamed, accused of murdering him, drugging him and stealing his money. Outspoken women on social media often face demonisation. Even Rhea’s family’s reputation has been tarnished, they have been labelled as drug peddlers and murderers. It has reached a point where the family has contemplated suicide. Is it moral to push someone to such a point where they consider killing themselves?
News channels are supposed to release unbiased news instead of entrenched misogyny, conspiracy and an unsure narrative. The Press Council of India has sent an advisory to TV channels on the coverage of the Sushant Singh Rajput’s case. It seeks to restrain the megalomaniacal coverage of the film star by the media.
Lack of Ethics
What’s worse is that the actors legacy is the investigation of his death. The lack of journalistic ethics or even human ethics that the media has portrayed is beyond belief with pictures of his dead body and intrusion of privacy. The media has used every opportunity to gain profit from its gullible viewers. Today, Rhea is the only name that big news houses cover instead of bigger issues.
The failure of the Modi government in handling the COVID -19 pandemic, the standoff with China in Ladakh, the economy and the migrant labour crisis are all issues that are screaming for coverage. The people of India need to be distracted from the woes of the Indian government and what’s more perfect than a case like this.
In case you are left in the dark by our honorary media, here is what has been happening in the country: