Friday, August 31, 2007

So is the Broadcast Bill a bad thing?

The TV channels keep on harping about how bad the 'Broadcast Bill' proposed by that slick-willy, Priya Ranjan Das Munshi is like a draconian act that even the Gestapo would not have thought up. However, yesterday when 'India Live' the latest incarnation of 'Janmat' a channel that virtually no-one watches managed to create a riot in Old Delhi, you wonder if even sting operations in the 'public good' need to be regulated.
While, there is no doubt that this sting operation weeded out a person who has no place in civil society, should the channel have gone live with the sting before it informed the local authorities? I think it should have. Of course, the said channel was proudly thumping its chest - 'Hey look, we caused a riot! Yay!'
Listen, to repeat I do not believe that what these guys did in itself was bad, but before airing they should have informed the police, even gone to the Delhi Police Commissioner or someone at the Central Government and had this woman arrested. Plus, the Police should have been warned to give them time to react. Should the school not have been identified? Maybe yes, but that is debatable.
At the same time, while the 'premier' English news channels have harped on about how evil the act is, the fact remains that through the day some of non-English channels could not care less. Watching TV in the afternoon is like watching a comedy show if you put on certain channels which really care more about Katrina Kaif visiting Salman Khan than anything else. Heck, the outburst of judges on India's cacophonic music shows makes for an half-hour special! So where does news end and where does entertainment begin?
So should channels who have lost the plot when it comes to news be held accountable? I think they should. Either that, or they become news channels again. I'm not saying that there is no room for entertainment, but create special channels for such reporting and with stings, at least co-ordinate them when you are exposing something that will rankle the public. Don't keep shooting yourself in the foot and then start frothing at the mouth.
Oh yeah, and NDTV has sold its soul to Kingfisher - Vijay Mallya is the lead sponsor of their new lifestyle channel which will be called NDTV 'Good Times'. Don't know what to say! But VM had this to say...

The Kingfisher brand has come to epitomize a lifestyle that encompasses some of the finest things in life and is today synonymous with delivering a premium experience. The NDTV Good Times channel would leverage from the editorial credibility and quality of the NDTV group and the strong lifestyle appeal of the Kingfisher brand and icon, to offer Indian viewers a world-class television entertainment experience. The shared values of the Kingfisher brand and NDTV Good Times - a great lifestyle, the good times and living in style are highly complementary.

Didn't know that really...
And if you haven't ever read this fantastic blog called Guruphiliac, do so now!

16 comments:

W.T.F. Ittabari said...

I wanted to comment on this when you raised the point about the quality of television journalism in your post titled 'travels'.

the hindi news channels are a cause for concern... katrina kaif visiting salman khan/indian idol judges pale in comparison to one hour shows on phenomenon such as a man who gets tickled without being touched, another who emits metallic sounds when knocked on his back and my favourite - a man who could blow a balloon through his ear (complete with an expert scientist and graphics to explain the event)..

and mobs are excited by cameras.. you could make out the gujjars directing the camera while rioting (shoot this.. shoot this..)

im not sure the broadcast bill or the supreme court (trying to pass an order on stings) is the answer..

maybe we all just need to grow up.

thalassa_mikra said...

Thus spake the maker of Kingfisher beer. But at least he tried to get his hands on the "finest things in life" with Taittinger. Too bad that fell through.

K said...

Ittabari - as said afternoon news TV is sheer entertainment that makes Ripley's Believe It or Not pale into insignificance...
There was this item on someone able to swim when he is asleep.. its called floating - Duh! When I say the line between journalism and entertainment is being blurred, the scary thing is that it is being crossed at such an alarming rate that you wonder if there is a line anymore!

Anonymous said...
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Renovatio said...

Considering the advent of a 'Good times' lifestyle channel, I see zero news, and only endless interviews with tripod-less cameras moving with the intent to make all viewers fairly seasick. It's beyond me why they can't hold the damn thing straight.

Anonymous said...

ah aah aaah!
a link about "Guruphiliac Jody Radzik" , the guy with a guru :)
but , waiy a min, isnt he bashin gurus himself :) :)
u sure have a *nasty* sense of humour , dont you ..k ;)
most funny but loses the first place to this particular blog :)
http://www.krishworld.com/politics/krish/society/act-of-impotents/#respond

W.T.F. Ittabari said...

i think india is becoming like the regional channels in the states where they have dwarves as reporters or reporters wearing funny hats in order to distinguish themselves. the massive competition between the number of news and radio channels results in shock journalism.

michael moore would have us believe that is a deeper conspiracy to keep people scared and consuming. [killer african bees etc]

i still think its inability to compete by creating quality..

the scary part is that if i would have seen that 'floating' thing i would have watched intently..

W.T.F. Ittabari said...

oh ..the english channels are hardly better..undie tv's chuppa rustam makes my blood boil.. i mean the equivalent show 'just for laughs' is on a cartoon channel.

as if there is no space for intelligent political satire on a serious news channel..

Renovatio said...

Cyrus Brocha must be the answer to that.

TV said...

Why do you feel about the continous denigration of Bihar in the English media? Mob lynching is being called Bhagalpur like, whereas worse lynching like Akku yadav in a legal court at Nagpur is ignored. Pissing by a CPM ex legislator in WB is not even mentioned.

saurabh said...

:D I agree with my friend TV. But what about forcing a helicopter down on a public road because someone needs to take a leak?

TV said...

Saurabh: that is the point, of equating a state with its worst all the time. Why not associate it with Y Sinha or Nitish or for that matter success of Lalu at railway. Why not as well highlight the prompt dismissal of the erring cops at Bhagalpur by the Bihar police? Why only show the worst all the time?

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W.T.F. Ittabari said...

well..it turns out it was a scam..

you win.. this "sting" was the worse case of indian journalism ever.. bring on the broadcast bill (though i thing that since our IPC does a good job of criminalizing everything we dont need extra laws for individual criminal behaviour)..

i dont think this sort of outrageous fake behaviour can be extrapolated to the rest of the media. its too extreme.

anyways the politicians are itching to come down on someone. (though even tarun tejpal had to live off handouts from his friends for a short period). hopefully this will serve as a test case for future fake stings. burn the bastards.

Action Against Live India News channel said...
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