Thursday 22 Oct 2020

Yellow journalism and the pie in the sky

While upholding the journalism ethics or the canons of journalism media must not hesitate to call a spade a spade

AGNELO PIRES | OCTOBER 18, 2020, 12:20 AM IST
Yellow journalism and the pie in the sky

Theprime objective of the media is to give true, informative and investigativenews. It must aim at putting a lid on fake news, scandal-mongering andsensationalism. As the fourth pillar of democracy, it must aspire to put thehorse before the cart and not vice versa. Like a judiciary, media ought to beneutral and it must give unbiased news and information from ground zero. Inrecent years and especially in recent months what is witnessed in India isyellow journalism that is promising pies in the sky. There can be no twoopinions on the fact that the media all over the world is plagued by yellowjournalism. Like the moving stones of Death Valley, truth is moved awaysurreptitiously and make-believe stories are conceived, given birth and raisedto be full-grown monsters of deceit and cheating. 

Thatthe Sushant Singh death was only a means to a filthy end was exposed by theMumbai police regarding the TRP allegedly masterminded by some of the TVchannels. It’s an irony that the hunter became the hunted. Some of the TVchannels were holding kangaroo courts to target whomsoever they wanted to or totarget whomsoever they were told to target. The case of how Rhea was targetedand hounded, with no rhyme or reason, cannot be sidelined. No truth or evidencehas been found to date by all the investigating agencies that Rhea murderedSushant or that she siphoned crores of Sushant’s money into her account asalleged by Sushant’s family, though the agencies are investigating into allegedabetment to suicide angle. It has only ended up tarnishing Sushant Singh’simage, thanks to yellow journalism. 

How theHathras tragedy was given a different colour is definitely not an isolated casewhere truth is buried deep and the petals of falsehood are sprinkled all overthrough the media. So the mesmerising question that creeps in mind is, do themembers of the fourth estate play their role of being the real watchdog for thesociety? Or do they become wax in the hands of the party in power? 

Thereare allegations by the opposition party that the ruling party has used andmisused the media to their advantage time and again. There are also allegationsthat most of the TV channels and the media houses, sailing close to the wind,dance to the tune of the ruling party. After all it is the Piper who calls thetune. It has also been alleged that some TV channels by being hand in gloveswith the ruling party undertake surveys of different kinds only by sitting inthe office in the company of their computers. Such surveys showcase a cleanimage of the ruling party thereby projecting it to be very much fit andefficient to rule for another term as the majority of the citizens approve oftheir sins of omission and commission. Whitewash, greenwash or brainwashwhatever you call it, the common man is simply given a jolly good ride by suchTV channels. 

Thispandemic has changed the kaleidoscope of everyone's life. As per NCERT at least27 percent of the students do not have access to smartphones or laptops foronline education in the country. The GDP has dropped to 23.9 percent. Thefarmers are agitating because of the government's new farming laws. Crores ofmigrant workers are jobless due to the pandemic. White-collar jobs aredisappearing by millions. Health workers are dying due to Covid-19 because thegovernment is unable to provide them with sufficient healthcare equipment.These are a few of the serious issues that the media should have highlightedthese days. But ‘Himachal ki beti’ and ‘Bihar ka beta’ as well as ‘Maal’ inBollywood walked away with the Academy awards instituted by the press. 

If thesociety is suffocating in the deep malaise of corruption, falling GDP, fallingbank interest rates of fixed deposits, crimes against women, rising inflation,mounting unemployment, rising positive cases of Covid-19 then it is time forthe citizens and the netizens to question the media why it is mum on theseissues. Just as for any media, print or TV channels, TRP is like an oven fromwhere the hot buns of revenue come out, so also for any reader or any channelviewer unbiased news and truthful information should be of prime concern. 

Themedia should not cross the Laxman Rekha (serious limit) when reporting. Whileupholding the journalism ethics or the cannons of journalism media must nothesitate to call a spade a spade. A coin always has two sides. Shouldn’t themedia wake up and smell the coffee? And shouldn’t the public keep their eyesand ears wide open?

 

(Thewriter is a Commerce and Law graduate and Goa State Youth Awardee)

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