Today the common man has been empowered, thanks to the social media, and they are challenging, and that to quite successfully, the mainstream Indian media.
Just look at the few recent top trending hashtags on Twitter in India.
* #GoHomeIndianMedia: Indian media’s attempt to sensationalize the human tragedy in Nepal caused due to debilitating earthquake miffed thousands of Nepalese and the Indians too and so this became a top trend.
— Dan Husain (@DanHusain) May 3, 2015
* #Presstitutes: Minister of State for External Affairs Gen (retd) V K Singh did a commendable job in war-torn Yemen rescuing hundreds of Indians but the media tried to bash him but itself got bashed, quite brutally, by thousands of Indians.
* #ShameOnTimesNow: Times Now editor in chief Arnab Goswami’s histrionics is quite famous. And he believes it to be the reason that Times Now is the NUMBER ONE NEWS CHANNEL. Not just this, he even believes that he speaks on behalf of the entire nation! So when India lost the semi-final cricket match against Australia in Australia, he in order to do something different and of course sensational organized a debate with the hashtag #ShamedInSydney. However to his utter dismay, his insensitive and unreasonable arguments angered Indians and so soon #ShameOnTimesNow became the top Twitter trend.
* #SupariJournalists: The common man believes and in some cases rightly that the media is corrupt and compromised. So they expressed their deep anguish with this particular hashtag.
The above ones are just few hashtags out of many which are critical of the media.
Media on several occasions have published reports giving less attention to actual facts. Even reputed newspapers have done this.
Recently “The Hindu” published an interview of Union finance minister Arun Jaitley with the title “Saffron bullies cautioned, says Arun Jaitley.” The fact was that Arun Jaitley had never used the word “Saffron Bullies.” This left leaning newspaper’s dislike for the saffron outfits is quite well known. However after the outrage, it published a small clarification in a corner of the newspaper (The Hindu):Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley did not use the words “saffron bullies” (“Saffron bullies cautioned, says Arun Jaitley”, Page 1, April 19, 2015). The words were part of a question posed to him in the interview.
Times of India published a report on June 23rd 2013 : “Modi in Rambo act, saves 15,000”. The newspaper incorrectly reported that Modi, the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, had claimed to rescue 15000 Gujaratis during Uttarakhand natural disaster. The news report was unsubstantiated because Modi or his office never gave any such figure. Again after few days a clarification in a small corner of the newspaper was published – “We regret any inadvertent inconvenience caused to any individual by the article.” In fact using this article as a reference, many scathing pieces were written against Mr Modi in many newspapers. Abheek Burman wrote an op-ed in TOI calling Modi a liar. He wrote, “In every area the Modi narrative is a tale of bluster and bluff. But his Himalayan miracle is a barefaced, cynical lie. ”
Rajdeep Sardesai got into a physical fight with a person in New York at Madison Square who according to him dared to disagree with his way of interpreting news report. Certain sections of the mainstream media have been trying to paint a picture that the minorities are in threat after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of the country. For e.g. when a nun was raped in Bengal then media without any facts or without waiting for the facts to emerge started to blame the Hindu outfits behind this gruesome incident. .
However, later the investigation revealed that this crime was perpetrated by Bangladeshi Muslims. But when the truth came out then media became completely silent, the vigor they had shown to put the blame on the Hindu organization was totally missing now while naming the culprits.
The recent attack on churches was magnified and was portrayed as attack on Christianity. However prompt investigation revealed that in almost all the cases there was no religious angle. It was either a case of theft or just a law and order problem at local level, no organized or unorganized attack was carried out by any Hindu organization. But in spite of the emergence of these truths many commentators in the media still while talking about the attacks on church put blame on Hindu organization.
Editors, columnists and reporters present news as per their ideological inclination and follow the policy of blaming and shaming a person whose ideology they do not like. TV anchors making fun of fellow panelists, shouting at them and threatening to throw them out from discussion who disagrees with them can be often seen.
Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, who has been a target of elitist and pseudo secular media for several years has said it very categorically that among the media fraternity there are “news traders” whose business is to sell the news by twisting the facts.
The chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, has recommended that there should be public trial of the media for false and fabricated reporting.
In fact many people would agree with Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal. Media today behaves like a judge, jury and executioner and dislikes to be questioned. Although they talk about self-regulation but till now they haven’t walked the talk and does not seem that in future anything is going to change. If politicians are found to be embroiled in wrong doings then they lose their job after 5 years. What about the media? Why they are not subjected to scrutiny. And why they are allowed to go scot free even though they have been found of biased and wrong reporting.
In fact biased and wrong reporting or the cases of corruption in media should be dealt strictly and there should be a time based probe. If found guilty the concerned reporter should be punished. The newspaper should be asked to publish a big apology in the center of the front page of the newspaper. The TV news channels should telecast the apology multiple times in a day and especially during the prime time.
It is not that all journalists are bad, there are good ones too. But it has become very difficult to find them because they have been sidelined in this cut throat competition for TRP.
An eminent journalist like Dr Pranoy Roy writes in NDTV about the “The Tabloidization of Indian News.” He rules that Indian Media is fast losing its credibility. However the fact is that Indian Media has already lost much of its credibility and it has to work hard to restore it. During our school days we were taught, “If wealth is lost, nothing is lost. If health is lost, something is lost. But, if the character is lost, everything is lost.“ Media’s character is being questioned today and that too quite vigorously.
This is why when Nepalese in thousands were tweeting #GoHomeIndianMedia, thousands of Indians were simultaneously tweeting #DontComeBackIndianMedia.
Indian Media has to change to earn the trust and respect of the people. The media should ask why they are being disliked so much and for this, they have to introspect honestly – #PlzintrospectIndianMedia.
By: Purushottam Kumar