Daily Post 1405
A MEDIA SPECTACLE
Every single activity, crucial and critical to human existence, for orderly functioning of society, governance and even personal life have fallen down and become a part of the gallery of media spectacle. There are no rules in this game, no code of conduct, no exemptions, no restrictions on the nature, length and the content of coverage. They chase and follow in a manner, which would put the infamous paparazzi’s chase of Princess Diana to shame. The country has become a no holds barred 24/7/365 media spectacle. The tone, tenor, a continuously attacking posture and it’s crowning glory; the anchors and their rabid talk shows, gives us a feeling that country in at their beck and call. Colonialization by Media would not be a description out of place.
That anyone wanting to scale new heights of fame finds media a great via media. There is a general trend not to annoy the media. When investigative journalism does not exist and science, technology and health (but for COVID-19) remain uncovered, what will the media cover? Its a platoon of cameraman with some running commentators can be an apt description of the media spectacle on the ground. In the evening at the studios, the anchors take up the cudgels for the nation and it’s every single ill; delivering sermons, chiding, giving directives, passing judgements, ordering individuals / govts., challenging party presidents and CMs to answer their probing questions. The underpinning sentiment is being holier than thou. Has media taken over the system?
Investigation is a very serious business and needs time, energy, dedication and a fresh mind to get into the intricacies of it and deliver. It is certainly not like making a fast food dosa or giving chaat or pani puri over the counter. This is what it is being made out to be. The spectacle of Bihar Police investigators in a auto in Mumbai being chased by media is not the spectacle the country wants to see. The whole of the country’s media feeding on few investigators doing their job makes their life extremely difficult. They had never bargained for this. The Media Dandi March is there everywhere, investigators walking and media getting entwined seems to have become a normal spectacle on the streets of Mumbai. Once even one alleged accused media editor created such a spectacle outside a Police Station just before his interrogation. Expertise matters.
Investigation is not a 20/20 match. The witnesses also need quietude, privacy and confidentiality. The dots have to be connected. Information flowing at cross purposes does not help the investigation at least. Doubts and contradictions get created. What defence does to the case inside the court room is a different story. Investigation is not bits and pieces put together but a true story unravelled, legally substantiated, strong enough to face a judicial trial and come out successful. The media – investigation bull battle has to stop. A protocol needs to evolve. Regular media updates in the best possible format has to be made available in public interest. It is the legal prerogative of the investigative agency to decide the extent to which they can divulge. A Media / Investigation Protocol will bring sanity to this jamboree.
SELF RESTRAINT AND REASONABLE CHECKS ARE THE BULIDING BLOCKS OF A ROBUST DEMOCRACY.