DailyPost 1699

Television on an experimental mode started in 1959 in Delhi. In 1965 daily transmission started as a part of All India Radio. It had  a steady growth with technology facilitation at every milestone, moving to color in 1982, at the time of the Asian Games. News and entertainment and any other program all formed the evening telecast of the existing lone channel. The channels went on increasing, of late with digital technology, seamless national and international channels became a reality. Somewhere down the line, might be taking a cue from the Test telecast, some business brain thought that a full-fledged news channel could be a success. Then emerged the 24 hours news channels, which touched the Indian heart and mind, and the success was theirs.

With cash registers ringing on the advertisement revenue, more and more channels entered the market and most struggled to make a sense out of their living. We will restrict to the big channels, of the value they bring to our lives, whether in war or peace, in a pandemic or in understanding the technology or the country better. The fourth estate and given the eroding base of the print media, the electronic become the final custodian of the manner in which the news is brought to us. They are tasked with creating an objective and independent mindset in people, so necessary for a democratic existence. Controlled by business interests, it is yet another business, helping the business barons and their patrons to create an area of influence, in the minds of the people.

Where has the news bulletin of yesteryears gone? Tragically we don’t even have a decent weather update. What is news? Defining news is where we have landed. Incidents, accident, war, pandemic, major declarations, elections, policy changes, business accomplishments, stock markets, tech advancements, education, inventions, discoveries and sports. Can these be covered objectively as the things unfold? Visual coverage is what the electronic media is supposed to provide. Do they have the human, technical and other logistics to cover this vast country professionally? They cannot behave as an uncontrolled news agency.* Do they even have the wherewithal to cover all that is mentioned above? No guidelines, no content and quality control and no audit for sure.

The unadulterated venom is unleashed to the people of this country. The audience being emotional and gullible Indians, has started getting reflected in their nature and behavior. Ground reports are  an aberration, if by mistake you do one, it is repeated endlessly.  While the real India and real issues remain uncovered, the filthiest of debates keep on happening with no end in sight. Party spokespersons talk on behalf of the government, as if they don’t have anybody to speak. Political bickering is in full display, unashamedly. The proportion of time going in actual reporting versus the debates, opinions and recorded repeat programs will tell the whole story. What is the left the anchors fulfill. One anchor becomes a channel and slowly all have followed suit. What have they made of the news?



Sanjay Sahay



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