Are you satisfied with the programmes being dished out on TV these days. i am not.
news channels in particular are very disappointing, mostly the hindi news channels. instead of providing information, the news channels sell sensation. the loudest the sensation, the largest the TRP – therefore, biggest the share in advertisement pie.
the news content can least qualify as news item. recently zee news aired a feature on the route followed by lord rama during his vanavasa. had this been reported as a travellogue or a pure mythological feature, there would have some matter to appreciate. instead, the reporter decided to act a historian and began uncovering mysteries associated with rama. the techniques utilised for generating facts were crude and the reporter based the programme on folklore. how can history be based upon folklore? the feature was well in time for the ram setu controversy and thus assured great TRP ratings for zee news. the channel aired the programme for many days at a stretch.
india TV has made a niche for itself in this kind of sensational reporting. seldom do they air news that is significant. news is rarely able to make the headlines here. the remaining part of the day is devoted to fraud babas, abandoned houses, long forgotten kings and queens, cars which move without drivers and all kind of issues, the knowledge of which does little good for people.
recently, news channels struck gold by telecasting scenes syndicated from popular TV shows like Indian Laughter Challenge on Star One and other such programmes. in a slot that would have been better devoted to news, the channels dish out shows done by raju srivastava, sunil pal, and the new breed of stand-up comedians.
Doordarshan is no better. not sensational reporting here. bland reporting rules here. the news anchor goes on and on, rarely ever exciting your senses. In fact, doordarshan was never good at news. since it is the national channel, the authorities ensure that the news content passes through several filters before being telecast.
breaking news has lost its sheen. it is again the news channels that are to blame. almost everything makes breaking news now – from Amitabh bacchan who decides to travel with family from one temple to another to the return of khali (india’s very own undertaker), from Aishwarya rai denying pregnancy claims to rakhi sawant playing one of her media tricks, and finally coming up with new clues on arushi case (mostly baseless).
news channels are resorting to any tactics to ensure that they have the reins to TRP. sting operations is one of the most lethal of them. the tehelka expose of BJP politicians was for a good. it exposed the widespread corruption among politicians. this soon snowballed into a trend where sting cameras began entering people’s bedroom. while the privacy of people was snatched, the sting operations also began to be misused. recently, there was a case where a school teacher was portrayed as a pimp, as a result of which she was badly beaten up and suspended from the school. later it was discovered that the sting operation wrongly indicted her.
others in this list of sensational-reporting-no-news genre of news channels are aaj tak and others from the TV today network (god know what criteria they use to judge it as the best news channel), IBN7, Live India and star news.
the only hindi channels that serve a palatable programming quality are NDTV hindi news channel and News X (recently started by INX media). these news channels offer content. they seldom sensationalise. each has a good quality of reporting. there also are different varities of programmes to show.
so the overall picture about hindi news channels is gloomy. a majority of the channels believe that the programmes they show are liked by the audience and so they will continue showing these as long as there is no giant shift in audience’s preference.
In this bid to secure greater TRP, the worst affected is the news itself. for me, options are still open in the form of english news channels (these offer a great programming quality) and english newspapers (hindi print media is going the way of their electronic media cousins). But think of people who have to depend on the hindi news channels for their daily dose of news since they cannot understand english or do not have access to newspapers. will they be devoid of news?