Watch out – growth doesn’t mean forgetting the rules

June 26, 2007 at 12:26 pm 7 comments

As we have all noticed, there has been an amazing growth in the number of television and radio channels in the country. This has brought with it variety in programming and exciting jobs for lots of talented young people. However, it has also brought with it fierce competition. And, with competition, there is apparently the need for one-upmanship – breaking the news first, hiring top guns, sensationalism, etc etc. But does this mean forgetting that there should be a code of ethical practice? And abiding by it?

The reason I pose this question is that in the early stage of our media revolution, it is important that these questions be asked and addressed. For instance last week, in an attempt to provide breaking news before their competitors did, two different television channels did the following:

  • One of them reported that the Balochistan budget had been passed when the budget session was still in progress!
  • The other one reported that Pakistani tennis sensation Aisam-ul Haq Qureshi had won the third and final qualifying round at Wimbledon against Canadian number one Frank Dancevic in a four-set thriller – this news broke while the match was still going on! I am glad their crystal ball proved to be right but that is NOT what it is about. They are supposed to report the news and not predict it.

Entry filed under: Posts.

Who has an answer to my question? Cars or computers?

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Vickram Crishna  |  June 26, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    The wonderful thing about living as part of a society, we social beings, is that there is always something to crib about. For me, in India, it is the execrable accents and pronunciation of our VJs and RJs – including our venerable newsreaders, not all of whom are chosen for their stunning good looks and/or mellifluous voices, so it beats me why we have to tolerate them.

    I am sorry to hear that your radio channels are not spot on with the right news – but be glad that they are at least allowed to give you the news – that is a big no-no in India. Obviously the government, in the persona of our ministry of information and broadcasting (and its fully-owned media corporation), is unwilling to give up its monopoly on radio news reporting (and you think your military owning everything is questionable).

    Of course, our nimble private channel operators are not really fazed, no matter how much the industry lobby protests. ‘News’ gets delivered in the form of ‘sports updates’, ‘traffic updates’ and so on – sailing closer and closer to the wind till you and I can’t really tell the difference – and do we care that they tell us what’s happening?

    We expect a rash of local community channels to break out into the airwaves this year – and for them the stakes are higher and the resources much lower than our deep-pocketed private media folk, for it has taken us well-nigh 10 years of constant fighting with the government to allow them on the air in the first place. For them, the battle to give the news is just one more arena to enter. It’s been a long while since Faiz Ahmed Faiz gave the Indian subcontinent all the news fit to hear.

  • 2. Jehan  |  June 26, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    Vickram, actually it was the television channels that I was referring to but radio is not an innocent bystander either. BTW we have our share of Americanized VJs and DJs too who become celebrities overnight because they speak English with an accent. Aaah well.

    We are still fighting the battle for community run stations but the fear of power in the hands of normal folk is scary for government. They will lose control of information. I hope they will soon learn that sharing of information and knowledge is good for the country – and eventually will strengthen the politicians who actually want to do something to help the country and the people. Or am I being naive?

  • 3. kinkminos  |  June 26, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    All things being equal, sharing information is, on the whole, good for the country and its people.

    Now if only our well-preening (Rotten)führers cared for the good of the country and its people.

    btw, I speak English with an accent (of sorts). I should consider a lucrative career change.

  • 4. Jehan  |  June 26, 2007 at 6:42 pm

    Yes you definitely should look at a lucrative Career change especially with the new DAWN News television channel. And you have one advantage over those youngsters – you would actually know what you were reading and what it all meant. 🙂

  • 5. kinkminos  |  June 26, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    ha ha… I just like to show off my collection of books (without having read many of them). I just keep hoping no one will ask me about them thereby exposing my jaahil jutthood

  • 6. kinkminos  |  June 26, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    btw, if you would like to read some reallybad poetry you are welcome to visit my blog.

  • 7. Vickram Crishna  |  June 27, 2007 at 7:00 am

    Its not only about incorrect news, its the quality of the news itself: here’s an anguished mail from a friend.

    Shame on Indian Media??? Really what a shame…

    By the time u guys read this news, the body of Major Manish Pitambare, who was shot dead at Anantnag, would have been cremated with full military honors.

    On Tuesday, this news swept across all the news channels ‘Sanjay Dutt relieved by court’. ‘Sirf Munna not a bhai’ ’13 saal ka vanvaas khatam’ ‘although found guilty for possession of armory, Sanjay can breath sigh of relief as all the TADA charges against him are withdrawn’ Then many personalities like Salman Khan said ‘He is a good person. We knew he will come out clean’. Mr Big B said “Dutt’s family and our family have relations for years he’s a good kid. He is like elder brother to Abhishek”. His sister Priya Dutt said “we can sleep well tonight. It’s a great relief”

    In other news, Parliament was mad at Indian team for performing bad; Greg Chappell said something; Shah Rukh Khan replaces Amitabh in KBC and other such stuff. But most of the emphasis was given on Sanjay Dutt’s “phoenix like” comeback from the ashes of terrorist charges. Surfing through the channels, one news on BBC startled me. It read “Hisbul Mujahidin’s most wanted terrorist ‘Sohel Faisal’ killed in Anantnag , India . Indian Major leading the operation lost his life in the process. Four others are injured.

    It was past midnight , I started visiting the stupid Indian channels, but Sanjay Dutt was still ruling. They were telling how Sanjay pleaded to the court saying ‘I’m the sole bread earner for my family’, ‘I have a daughter who is studying in US’ and so on. Then they showed how Sanjay was not wearing his lucky blue shirt while he was hearing the verdict and also how he went to every temple and prayed for the last few months. A suspect in Mumbai bomb blasts, convicted under armory act…was being transformed into a hero.

    Sure Sanjay Dutt has a daughter; Sure he did not do any terrorist activity. Possessing an AK47 is considered too elementary in terrorist community and also one who possesses an AK47 has a right to possess a pistol so that again is not such a big crime; Sure Sanjay Dutt went to all the temples;

    Sure he did a lot of Gandhigiri but then…….. …

    Major Manish H Pitambare got the information from his sources about the terrorists’ whereabouts. Wasting no time he attacked the camp, killed Hisbul Mujahidin’s supremo and in the process lost his life to the bullets fired from an AK47. He is survived by a wife and daughter (just like Sanjay Dutt) who’s only 18 months old.

    Major Manish never said ‘I have a daughter’ before he took the decision to attack the terrorists in the darkest of nights. He never thought about having a family and he being the bread earner. No news channel covered this since they were too busy hyping a former drug addict, a suspect who’s linked to bomb blasts which killed hundreds. Their aim was to show how he defied the TADA charges and they were so successful that his conviction in possession of armory had no meaning. They also concluded that his parents in heaven must be happy and proud of him.

    Parents of Major Manish are still living and they have to live rest of their lives without their beloved son. His daughter won’t ever see her daddy again.

    So guys, please forward this message around so that the media knows which news to give importance, as it is a shame for us since this Army Major’s death news was given by a foreign TV channel!!!


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