Thursday, December 29, 2005

last night i was surfing the channels n i was shocked to learn of the news about a shootout in bangalore at the IISc campus. the news channel said it looks like a terrorist attack. even as other national news channels were saying the same, this particular news channel went on to name a terrorist outfit that is being suspected behind this attack. as i was digesting the news, something struck me. i immediately switched channels to BBC. what i found was even disturbing. i fould a news tracker in the bottom of the screen that said nothing more than this "professor killed in a firing in a science conference in bangalore".

2 things came to my mind.

one is the way our media goes about their job without a social conscience, without a purpose behind their jobs. agreed that their job in a democracy is to make the news reach the people asap. but it was just getting overboard. these channels were airing live videos of the crime scene. there was a scene of a puddle of blood that was being fed live into the studios only to be aired without any censorship. these are violent stuff that not only makes the weak hearted feel sick but also give a kick to the terror outfits if they are indeed behind the attack (assuming it wasnt a marksman's work to target a specific professor like the one in ANGELS & DEMONS). the other glaring aspect is the media making the news public - the news that ABC terror outfit is suspected to be behind this attack.

well if the intelligence guys know that a terror outfit is suspected, its their business to track them, not the media's to give them publicity to these outfits. this publicity is what draws huge money flow n financial support to these outfits. it could have just been said by the media that there is a shootout. what follows is that a terror outfit would actually take responsibility for this and the media will air this news as well. where does the viscious cycle stop ?

the other point is about how foreign media looks at news coming from events outside their zone ( first world countries). had it been an incident in the US, in any of the good institutes there, the news would read something like "Harvard professor killed in a terrorist attack". this would be the bare minimum sensationalism they would try to make.IISc is among the best in the world when it comes to a masters degree in science and beyond (research). the foreign media knows the worth of the best institutes. they were just acting like hypocrites.

actually the second issue pales in comparison with the first. the domestic media knows the pulse of the target audience. they know which news sells and which kind of statements will give them the maximum viewership ratings which translate to more prime time advertisement money.

its on the viewers to ignore these channels to give them poor ratings if they fail to act without a conscience. how i wish set top boxes were made the norm all over the country so that the viewer has the choice to subscribe which channel he doesnt want !!! ironically capitalism alone can be the watchdog for "capitalism without a heart" or so it seems for the moment.


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