Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sania Mirza’s double fault, Shoaib’s googly and the stumped populace

Sania Mirza’s wedding jewellery seems to be getting more attention than important issues in the nation today. I was horrified to see the TOI covering an in depth view on Shoaib Malik and Sania Mirza on the front page. Every prime time TV channel elevated the issue to a national emergency like status. What is really pitiable is the sad state of affairs in the media today. Maoist insurgencies and other worthwhile important issues are being left to the sidelines and the wedding is being taken into gargantuan considerations. Issues like the Operation Green Hunt are coming to the forefront only now, despite the heavy internal threats it poses to the nation.

During the press conference, a reporter had the audacity to ask Shoaib Malik what clothes he would wear for the wedding, and which designer wear it would be. Now how is that significant or even relatively informative?  Shoaib’s stony silence and his languid demeanor to the press highlighted the insipid press conference. The viewer is being taken for a bumpy ride and what’s more, we all love it. Statistics prove that Aaj Tak is the most viewed channel across India. It has the highest TRP ratings week in and week out. In all fairness to them, the media house is a profitable venture. If the people demand crass and voyeuristic news the producers have no qualms in giving them just that. So, it is unfair to blame a news channel and neglect the choices of a viewer.

Sania Mirza’s credentials on the tennis court are fast declining and no one seems to be perturbed by the sole fact that the lady is doing nothing worthwhile for the country. Apparently, the AP government has spent money on her security and coaching only for the lady to walk around with her not so funny one-liners on her T-shirt. As a matter of fact, she is soon becoming a woman who has attained celebrity status at too young an age and does not know how to handle it. The inevitable comparisons with Britney Spears are looming large. What is most annoying is the Indian media’s obsession with her marriage. You can read at least 8 articles in a single paper dedicated to the most vexing soap opera.

It is sad to know that NONE of the papers or the media channels covered an in depth detail into the process of the woman’s reservation bill or the faults and scopes for improvements in the Right to Education Bill. The two bills that could possibly alter the course of India’s future are swept under the doormat for lack of ‘meat’ to sell. Now, the media has decided that Sania Mirza’s wedding could almost be apocalyptic for the recalcitrant country.

The press does not have a concrete watch-dog despite the press being the fourth and a powerful pillar of democracy. In the interest of a civil-society it is of paramount importance that an audience demands for standard dissemination of information. After all, in marketing parlance the customer is the king and must learn to act like one.

This is perhaps why blogs and other alternative forms of media are fast becoming the ONLY way to connect to an esoteric audience. It is heartening to note the steady rise in bloggers and how the generation dissects the news and refuse to accept news from a media house that is supposedly analytical. The bagatelle chasing is never ending and with the impending opera, it just got a lot lot worse for the Indian press. So, the only real hope lies in a nation full of dedicated bloggers who can write their heart out instead of getting sucked into this ignominious and prosaic system.


Phantom said...

Its really disheartening to see the way the priority for national news has now changed. Its now more like if you want to be on the news you got to know what time and when to strike. Sad isn't it?

Pavithra said...

Phantom I completely agree...but hasn't Indian media always been like this? We have actually redefined Journalism to a large extent...thanks to channels like AT and TV9 The country's prime time are things like 'how Deepika is trying to seduce Shahid with her new hair cut' or 'how the death of Vishnuvardhan is a result of the curse of his last release.'

farhaan.madar said...

a few years ago i was appalled when a news channel , dont remember which one, showed WWE results in their sports section . i was speechless , how could they ? it was raising the level of WWE to the level of sport ,its entertainement for God's sake. did the reporters miss the disclaimer at the beginning of every show?
and then there was the mumbai bombings, it was being telvised like the final of the world cup - fluid running commentary, fans views, opposition abuse and the whole works . people were glued to their sets - it made sense , this is what they wanted- lights,camera, action! and it only made business sense to capitilize on the opportunity . but the sad thing is 'people wanted this kind of drama'.
so its back to the old catch-22 ; do you do what is right and not be taken seriously or do you put away what you know is right and feed your family and drive a fancy car?
but its heartening to hear that the more and more people are turning to blogs for more informed,less-money-making views of fellow citizens.
adi, you are doing a very good job at making your views heard and provoking people to think and letting them know that good is not good enough. keep up the excellent work.