DailyPost 1968

The versions of journalism can be wide and varied, pernicious or divine, bland or spicy, effortless or made of hard work, conjecture or data driven or any variant you can imagine, in binaries they work. There is no version control as we have in software, you have to give the version number yourself, because there is nothing common and nobody to control, nobody to provide some ethical standardization or call foul, when it hurts the basic tenets conventional journalism, as it can be called now. I have no idea whether it is taught in journalism schools or schools of mass communication or on the job, where the ecosystem can make anybody perverse. Criticism of an organization which was created to criticize all wrongs and also bring it forth, through investigation has today been both the centerpiece of criticism and at times outright ridicule.

The business what it is today, on the merit of love for advertisements can put the Googles and Facebooks to shame. The world class service they provide for free, here first it has pushed the news now, where it is hidden in crevices of newspapers or dished out, whatever you feel like on the electronic medium. The English media channels have reached a level where their medium itself is in a quandary, leave aside the content. It has now been believed that whosoever gives advertisements has the right over the news itself. It can be taken as a paid endorsement, just that it is so neatly delineated, that you cannot make the umbilical connection between the two. It is the media which has mandated upon itself to dupe people, the gullible ones to start with or over a period of time, make everyone gullible.

The well planted media and their stories do not share any accountability for the damage done. Each believes that the damage has been done by somebody else. Now there is a genre of advertisements in the form of news. This is one of the greatest recent inventions of the electronic media. Even very prying and expert eyes can be fooled by it. Think of the large part of the population which has no idea whatsoever of the games being played. Hoodwinking has become the core competence of the large scale media, the more successful they are in this game, they turn out to be the biggest successes. Shame certainly cannot accompany for long in this golden enterprise, but when taken to task, i.e., when they are shamed, they take it as part of their professional risk,  when it is precisely of their making. We have innumerable instances these days.

What is to be covered and with what intensity and for what duration of time is decided by the anchors, editors, and powers behind them, in this novel and paying enterprise, which can be termed anything but journalism. The newest weapon in their arsenal is to play to the tunes of their masters, what can be termed as the epitome of all journalistic interviews. They have also learnt the art of timing and the legal technical acumen to keep away from jaundiced model code of conduct eyes of the Election Commission of India. The questions posed are the ones which the person being interviewed wants to clarify and was difficult even in a public meeting. Here it is at the comfort of your location and your interviewer. It is played live, replayed and can be used as footage, whichever the way aligned media wants to use. One such interview has the interviewer missing on the camera /screen, only his voice was to do the magic. All this when the elections are around. What a fall from grace?


Sanjay Sahay

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