I was surprised to hear that NR Narayana Murthy praise a particular reporter. Well he does sit on the board of that company incidentally. But so what, after all there are no regulations for them to disclose such things? But, today during Parliament telly channels were slammed by all and sundry, of course by then most channels had stopped broadcasting, but I think the channel’s ‘defence’ of ‘No Rules’ is getting a bit hackneyed right now. Very hackneyed in fact!
India’s TV News Channels have proven incapable of self-regulation. They spread canards and lies – IndiaTV is a horrible case in point. I’m not speaking as a snobbish well-educated upper middle class prick, but if we make fun of the US State of Kansas for wanting to teach creation, after watching some of the stories on television, even on the English channels I’m pretty scared about the average intelligence of this country.
But Government regulation is not the answer either, politicians love controlling information and that should not happen. The answer I believe will be a Broadcast Regulator. One with teeth, and a clear and defined set of rules. ‘No Tits till 11 PM on Movie Channels’ should mean that a channel that shows a flash of boob at 10.59PM must be fined. ‘No coverage of counter-insurgency missions live’ should mean that, and if that rule is breached the editor of the offending channel should be charged with sedition. This is not writing about the dubious antecedents of a Police Chief, this is sedition, any which way you look at it. Of course, there should also be a clearly defined rule for fake emotions, any anchor suspected of using glycerine or giving away Army Positions… well I can’t think of a punishment for this.
Now, the Broadcast Media have to involved in the framing of these rules and said regular should be accessible to the public. Members of the public should have the right to complain, and while this is likely to be abused by old retired busy-bodies with nothing better to do than complain every time they see a Rhianna video. But some things can really be offensive to some people, but the regulator should have the brains to realise that some things despite being offensive are in the public good.
You know, the genesis on my complaint about the media comes down to the same point I’ve raised before. The media boom might have meant that a lot of dumb twenty-somethings got jobs, but it also meant and mediocre and sometimes very bad forty-somethings became editors. These people have no sense of right or wrong let alone ethics. Every journalist in this country, actually most journalists across the world have some ethics issues, but many journalists across channels, newspapers and magazines did not have opinions. And worse still they didn’t have basic common sense.
The media boomed, but reportage died. Faking emotions can make you big after all. But, that said, thankfully I do know a lot of peers, my age, who are brilliant reporters and whose stories I like reading and watching. I think I’ve become a bit too cynical for my own good of late, but I’ve become a better reporter than I was a few years ago I would think. Sure, I still like the good life, which is why I keep one finger in the lifestyle pie still, but I enjoy that.
You know, some channels and columns carried on about how politicians need to introspect, I maintain that we in the media need to do the same thing. And today, in Parliament despite the pathetic turnout (even though one died last night and our telecom inister was missing in action) our politicians did put up a decent show. We in the media should do too.