Media coverage

On February 4th, (2011) in CNN IBN, in the ‘Last Word’ at 10.00 Pm. Sri Karan Thappar (one of my favorite TV anchors), shared his concern for lack of coverage on recent development in Egypt in Indian media of both electronic and printed ones.  Then the panel with eminent editors (like Sri Ram of The Hindu) discussed about the subject, sharing their views.

Though all three panelist agreed with Karan, yet giving their reason for the lack of coverage they shared their view from their point of view as intellectuals and editors.  And I respect it.  However, as a common Indian, when I began to reflect on the same topic, I began to ask a question to myself:  Is it reflects the fundamental Indian Worldview?

Of course our Indian worldview though shaped strongly by religious faiths and convictions, yet since the beginning of 20th century, particularly after the Independence it is heavily influenced by western thoughts.  Though we never lost the religious influence yet our Worldview no more remain based on religious faiths and convictions.  In fact, in the past also Indian Worldview was not an exclusive ‘any religious worldview’.

Well, I think in his visit to West, Swami Vivekananda one time said that while the people in the west spend their time in discussing and working for the economic and political ends, people in India spent mostly in religious things.  As I quote from memory, I cannot give his exact words or views.  However, if he lives today, he will reconsider his view, considering the sudden rush print and electronic of media on Indians.  Though the printed media developed slowly and steadily, giving some space for the educated people to cope with its contribution and demand in their life the sudden rush of electronic media mostly gave a jolt first and now we are in the phase of learning to adjust our life to cope with it.

At least this sudden rush of electronic media with so many channels with many competing satellite T.Vs, made all of us very busy.  Now the common words that we all hear from everyone is: ‘No Time’.  Even a lazy person has no time to enjoy her laziness.  All become very busy.  And this busyness now compartmentalized people’s life not only from each other, but also for themselves.  Not only in the Office and working place people are sitting in their cabins but now within the home, people began to live within their own cabins—women (after their office and kitchen work) glue to the mega-T.V. serials in the hall, men either with their computer or separate T.V. in their room with their (cricket) matches; children with their studies and video games, youths with their Internet browsing (even in sleep and dream).  (Recently I visited a house at Mathigiri in Hosur.  The entire house is around 1200 sq. feet with three bed rooms for the three boys and one common hall for the parents to live.  And they have four TV).  In the rural area, though, because of lack of space and financial constraint sit and watch in one place and one T.V. program, they too have their own mental cabins (women and children watching either mega serial or movies and men lying down after their drink).   So the sudden rush of visual media, instead of expanding the horizon of common people to think and involve on wider and public issues, forced them to become captives of their own personal need and interest (entertainment).

Above all, the way any issue on public interest and need are discussed with same kind of rhetorical approach, even educated people too become fed up with such discussion and want to use their leisure time to rest and relax than to follow these kinds of media discussion and coverage.  For example, in the recent tension between Indian and Pakistan after two soldiers were brutally killed (2013), you turn to any main channels (NDTV, CNN-IBN etc.) all the anchors asking the same old questions and all panelist giving their same old answers.  Even now I too stopped watching such panel discussion in which we hear the same old question and same old answers—which we are hearing from the past several years.  Unless media, not keeping their TRP alone, come out with innovative ways to reach Indians, common people are going to keep away from such matter of public, national and international issues. Once TRP become their mantra for survival, then naturally media is not going to cover on such issues on which Indians have no concern or connection.  The competition and TRP force media to fall in line with people as long as people have their remote control on their hand.  Then naturally there is no space for any coverage on such issues which do not affect Indians directly. After all ‘people get the program what they want and media deserves only such audience.’

Dayanand Bharati, Gurukulam, February 9, 2011.

Revised on January 17, 2013