Thursday, October 23, 2008

One day Declaration, next day Clarification

Just a day after hearing about Raj Thakray being a gunda by a hindi news channel, the marathi version of it had a discussion on a topic similar to what I have written in the previous write-up. I happened to catch up with the closing statements of the discussion.

The topic of discussion was: 'Is Raj Thakray a media created monster?', to which they even had a public poll! The discussion was held by a well known journalist and the guests were a senior journalist and a member of MNS. Both the guesta had their own opinions and the usual blame game that happens. More importantly, the poll resulted in 88% public saying NO and the remaining saying YES.

A thought just passed my mind while watching this discussion. What was the need of such a topic to be discussed at all? What did the channel want to prove by showing that 88% public doe snot believe that Raj Thakray is not a media created monster? Do they want to indirectly prove (proven through the media only at last, silently though) that Raj Thakray is a monster and media is just showing that side of his? What exactly was the objective to have had such a discussion when there are other important issues and events taking place?

There could be a discussion on 'What exactly has been the entire issue revolving around the Marathi Maanus', or 'What will be the action plan hereon', or 'What exactly went wrong with the Maharshtra government that this had to take place', or 'What does the Marathi Maanus have to say about the whole thing', or 'Should the central government step in', or the like. I think the common man would be more interested to know the why, what, who, when, and how that are related to the whole issue. And not about whether Raj Thakray is a media created monster or not! This is kinda funny that one day a hindi news channel declares Raj a gunda, and the next day its marathi version fields for it to save its face! I think this is a good use of having more than one channels under one umbrella.

88% public voted in favour of media. But, I would still want the channel to introspect itself or the media as a whole, and find an answer for itself. When a news channel firmly declares somenthing about someone, that time itself it creates the very image in the minds of the viewers, which is difficult to erase later. People still believe that media is a transparent medium and that it can never mislead the janata. People from certain parties have alleged that the media has made Raj Thakray a hero by giving him so much coverage and mileage. And, on the other hand, media itself wants to prove that it has neither created a hero nor a monster out of anyone!

All these questions will not arise, provided that the media stays unbiased and transparent - a medium which is meant only to show the news. It has become a habit to watch the politicians play the blame game and then making such statements thereafter that they have never been involved in any such issues. I hope that the same is not yet transferred to the media until one day we all see it washing hands and trying to protect its image first.

Also, it is quite fun to watch these politicians fight against each other, on the basis of the Raj issue. It feels as if kids are fighting amongst each other for a toffy (read kids= politicians, toffy= chair). Looks like lots of BIG stories coming up and lot of drama in store. The channels need not worry about the TRP's, we will keep watching only and only your channel. After all, you'll also have a race against each other that your's is the channel that brings the stories to its viewers before anyone else (even if the public is aware that the same story is running on every channel at th esame time)!

Governmnet and media are among the few highly regarded systems of teh nation. But sometimes they go out of their way and have to face public criticism. Sometimes it feels that do they think they can fool the public like the cat who shuts the eyes and drinks milk as if no one is watching???

A News or a Story channel?

A lot is being said and done about Raj Thakray since quite some time now.. Here, I don't want to write about what seems to be right or wrong, neither do I want to pass any opinions or comments. We have been hearing lot of things already been spoken by many people.

However, I want to make a mention here about the media. To put it in simple words, the media should work as an information medium for the public, which serves the daily news (story, as they call it!) that enables the public to know about the current affairs around them. The public is then capable to understand and think for themselves and create their own opinions. The media plays a very influential role in shaping up the thought process of many (at least for those who do not think beyond what is portrayed). Hence, it is very important that media remains unbiased and serves just the news as it happens, and not make it a story!

As far as I think (as a common man), media has no right to impose its views on the public and cannot always think it is right. I was compelled to write this after I was watching a hindi news channel (or should I call it a story channel) yesterday night, to watch the updates about the Raj case. The court had given its verdict for Raj Thakray, and it was obviously the BIG story for all the news channels. After watching these updates, the news/story channel had prepared an analysis of Raj Thakray, to show to its viewers what led to all this drama, as they call it! The headline for this special analysis or the channel's expert vishleshan was: Gunda 'Raj' Mein Diwali! It was then followed by what they called, 'Gundagardi ke Saboot'! And, the saboot they mentioned were the incidents like Raj's take on Jaya Bachchan, the police commissioner, some ministers and the like.. The channel went on to say that Raj ke gunde atank macha rahe hain! Of course, their expert analysis went on even after that, but I thought of getting back to news than the STORY telling that was going on.

Here, I am not pointing toward what the channel had to say about Raj Thakray. Everyone would have their own opinions, and has a right to stand by their opinions. However, when you are presenting your views in front of the public, especially a medium like a news channel, I don't think they have a right to express such a sensitive issue in whatever manner they wish to. News channels do not have a right to give their verdict on anyone and give names to anyone in this fashion. Are they trying to say that Raj Thakray is a gunda? What impression do they want their viewers to carry? Let the Judiciary system alone have the right to give away verdicts. Why don't news channels simply serve news to us than any stories?

It makes me think that these channels have hired some kind of script-writers! Every news that they present has the flow of a well written script (well written only if we keep the sensitiveness aside). Sometimes I feel, why should there be a need of a 24 hours news channel at all??? If they are going to produce stories instead of news? Weren't the prime time news hours on some channels better than the channels exclusively dedicated to 24 hours story telling? It compels the common man to look at these channels as story telling channels when they hit sensitive issues on the wrong and sometimes, misleading notes!