Wednesday, January 14, 2015

News Media and it's Quest for TRP

News Media are considered eyes and ears of the democracy. They do a very vital task of informing and educating masses. They are required to be kept free and expected to be truthful. The important factors for a News media, print or TV are, objectivity, Accuracy and Speed.

These factors were in application by print and TV media as long as there was no or little competition. As the competition built up,  in the quest for readership and / TRP, the media has,  in their zeal  for speed, routinely sacrificed the the accuracy and sometimes the objectivity.

And it is getting worst. Let me give two examples.

DRDO Chief,  Dr Avinash Chander has 42 years of service to the nation as a DRDO scientist. He has to his credit many successes. He was employed on contract as Secretary  Defence R &  D and SA to RM post his retirement after two extensions last year.Like all government employees who serve till the retirement or the the pleasure of President, he was also serving on contract.

Contracts are governed by Indian Contracts  Act and their termination is done by either party as per the terms of contract. His contract has been terminated by the government yesterday. The PIB notification rightly stated that government has decided to terminate his contract. Without going into the debate on termination of contract I can state that 'Long and short' of this News was only this much.

What did our media do? Headlines screamed, DRDO chief sacked, DRDO chief booted out  and such other derogatory terms were used to specify a simple thing called termination of his contract..

This senior Scientist who has served the nation without blemish was made to look like a corrupt or inept employee. I thought he deserved a better treatment from media. Government employees are sacked, booted out or dismissed from service for gross indiscipline, moral turpitude or financial irregularities and he has not done any one of them.

What should have been the plain news item was made spicy for the sake of sensationalism. It is like, 'Dog biting a man' is not a news but 'Man biting a dog" is. Once one group did it there was competition in the media in coining newer and spicier terms without any regards for his reputation. Worst was, some of the news papers, considered proper and conventional, could not contain themselves and joined the band wagon.

In another incidence on 12 Jan 15, a part of  CCTV grab was shown with a news item that a TT coach molest a junior team female player. Even in the part grab it did not look molesting.

Same news,  with larger CCTV grab was shown yesterday by some TV channels stating that the coach and female player have been removed from TT team for fighting as seen on the CCTV grab. Obviously no verification of the facts was done on 12th Jan when this incidence was called molestation..Yet again the desire to beat other channels , the desire for speed, had resulted in inaccurate and wrong news.

The media knows but overlooks the fact that,  we the audience,  deserve better but sacrifices our interests on the altar of Circulation  / TRP. Hope they go back to BASICs.

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