Newsbytheway's Blog

October 20, 2009

Broadcast media in India-Bad & the Ugly

Filed under: Media,Terrorism — Rabea Khan @ 11:11 pm
Tags: ,

From the days of an-hour news bulletin broadcast on Doordarshan (government) to the ever-increasing 24-hr news channels, Indian broadcast media has certainly come a long way.

Till 1990s, Indian news scenario was monopolised by Doordarshan, a public broadcaster that presented news in a neutralize manner. More than a news channel it was a mouthpiece of the reigning government.

Its monopoly was broken when private channels penetrated the Indian boundaries and gave viewers the option of choice. They grew and thrived in the liberalised environment and have reached a point now where they seem to have altered the definition of `News’.

Today news channels in India are solely guided by Television Rating Points or TRPs. For them the equation read:

More TRPs=More Advertisers=More Money

So to gather more eyeballs, channels don’t shy away from sensationalising every piece of news. Flick through the news channels and you are guaranteed to see a BREAKING NEWS on the ticker of more than one channel.

A boy trapped in a well was made into a celebrity overnight; love affairs of film stars are given more air time; astrology shows are an integral part their FPCs, so on and so forth.

On 26th Nov 2008 when Mumbai was attacked, it was a litmus test for the news channels. A war was been fought right in middle of a city. It was called India’s 9/11. News channel televised every moment of the ordeal. The coverage earned more flak than appreciation. The news channels were accused of not applying any discretion. National security was put at stake as LIVE pictures of the strategic positions of the commandos at the Taj, Oberoi and the Nariman House were been telecasted. Security officials and the broadcasters association eventually asked the channels to exercise restrain.

At present, broadcast media in India is in its early stages of evolution. Like a child, it needs direction and nurture to break out from the clutter of sensation and hyperbole.  The only way is forward.

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