Sunday, August 06, 2006

Did Rakhi Kiss Mika, or Mika Kissed Rakhi?

Indian Media followed this "Rakhi-Mika" saga religiously for quite a few weeks. They showed pretty interesting clips on TV, made them to talk on phone on live TV and did frame by frame analysis of the party video. I am not sure what they have found out, but what I have realized is that probably India has most irresponsible media.

Media is supposed to be a pillar of democracy. Its a sorry state that this fourth pillar in India is losing its relevance, importance and responsibility. I have been saying this after following the news by Times of India, Rediff, CNN-IBN, ZeeNews Channel, AajTak, NDTV, BBCHindi, HindustanTimes etc. Unfortunately I rate BBC (a UK company) as the best news source amongst these for India. Doordarshan, I haven't followed for long, but I would rate it better than ZeeNews and AajTak.

It appears that these news sites and news channel have forgotten what they are supposed to do. They just try to get most spicy news they can and present it on TV again and again, until they get another spice to offer. Most of you might have seen or experienced the kind of stuff they suffer, but few examples are: Rakhi-Mika Saga, saving Prince and its coverage for 50 hours, unnecessary elongated coverage of cricket, BCCI and its politics, Rahul Mahajan's engagement and all other useless stuff.

The media tend to get the news which it can commercialize the most. These days these news channels have also started presenting crime based programs which are mostly gross dramatization of actual crimes.

Also the news is presented with lowest research, poorest graphics, stupid details, and useless repetition. When you compare Indian news channels with their US (CNN, FOX), and UK (BBC) counterparts, it feels shameful. BBC, CNN and FOX not only have good reputation, their news coverage also affect government policies.

There has been lot of discussion at how much useless news media covers like this discussion in BBCHindi, but what I would like to see in the news is:

1. A well researched report on actual population status of India, what is projected for next few years, its repercussions, what common man can do about it, what some social service organizations are doing about it, and what's the Govt.'s stand on it.

2. The actual status of water availability in cities and villages of India, its quality, imbalance of demand and supply, future possibilities and again Government's stand.

3. The energy status in India, what President of India has been emphasizing upon, what other countries are doing about it, how much is the gap between demand and supply, what common man can do, what are relevant studies/research and what Govt. is doing.

4. The garbage thrown by us! Where it is dumped, how it is dumped, how much recycling is done, how much more recycling can be done, how much common man can support to it, what should Govt. do about it, what studies/researche are being done in that field and lot more.

5. There are hundreds of social service organizations doing very good work in various fields, cover them. Parivartan organization has been present right in Delhi for so many years, yet people knew about it after Mr. Arvind Kejriwal was chosen for Ramon Magsaysay (International) award

6. Everybody has been shouting about farmers committing suicides, but none of the reporters actually went to villages, studied the issues and presented them in a fair manner. As a result, all of us know about the fact that farmers are committing suicide, but no one knows why.

7. Actual issues in North East India, their development, why they still appear to be behind rest of India. I bet 80% Indians won't be able to count the seven North-Eastern states. Try it!

8. Coverage of key international events with proper research and information.

9. What's happening in science and technology? Why Indian customers are still paying double the price of electronic items than US customers. Why couldn't we pressurize Microsoft to sell Windows for cheap in India? What options people have besides pirating?

10. How is urban life different in India than in other countries? What amenities do we as Indians miss? Why have we accepted low standards for our life?

11. Several social, societal issues, changing mentalities, research studies in Universities.

There are several important issues like the ones I mentioned above which need to be covered in proper light and need more importance than Rahul Mahajan's engagement and Rakhi-Mika saga. It's also important for the viewers to actually request these news channel and news-sites to present proper information with proper research. When I emphasize on proper research for news stories, you actually need to see the kind of research which some very good news magazine do.

Finally, the quality of news presenter. It appears that news correspondents and news presenters are very less educated, low confident, poorly trained and have poor public speaking skills. I have been following news on CNN only and sometimes on Zee News and TV Asia. Not even once I have seen Jack Cafferty, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Lou Dobbs, Paula Zahn even falter while speaking. They have amazing confidence and also very good grasp on the subject they are covering.

I am really looking forward for the start of a more responsible news media in India, as that will decide the pace of India's real development.


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