Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Merchants of Ethics

If you have already forgotten about the incident that shamed Assam on 10th July 2012, let me remind you once more- one teenage girl was molested by some 30 odd men at around 9.30 PM, on a very busy and posh road of Guwahati. Following that incident, many things have happened. I am not playing moral police to anyone, but I just want to vent out some anger over the absurdity of things that happen on Assamese “news” channels.

After the aforementioned incident, the news channels in question started showing the entire incident on television, without even blurring the face of the girl! One reporter was even taking help of other people to take the girl’s hands off her face, so that they can show the girl’s face on TV! As if this was not enough, they zoomed-in on the girl’s thighs to show that the girl was wearing a mini skirt. Is it a crime, you sick bastard Mr. Reporter? Then, adding to the shame,¬†the TV channel’s first agenda was to have a “discussion” with “prominent citizens” (my foot!) to discuss if the young generation is going astray (You see, it’s always easy to blame the young!). Initially, all the fingers were pointed towards the girl. What was the girl doing in front of a pub at 9.30 PM, why would a girl from a reputed home be out on her own at 9.30 PM in front of a pub, have these kids who go out of Assam for study/job lost all sense of discipline were the questions being raised. I was so disgusted! But thanks to humanity, people outraged over the incident, leading the government to intervene on the matter; following which, one TV reporter who recorded the entire incident was arrested and the chief editor of a certain news channel was sacked. Then these “news” channels started an ugly blame game among themselves to “prove” who was (more) wrong. They even linked one of the main culprits to a certain TV channel as he had acted in one of their serials. So much to justify a wrongdoing. We have traded ourselves for TRPs and we hold “discussions” in the studios to moral police others. Applaud!

To counter all these, some other questions were raised. Why the news reporter didn’t try to save the girl instead of filming the entire incident? Some would say that it helped the police to nab the culprits. But how did it happen at the first place, that too, on such a busy road? Why the police took 30 mins to reach the spot? Why the reporter was more interested in highlighting the girl’s face and thighs, rather than try and save her?

Have they really revisited their work ethics, even after this incident where the role of a TV journalist was questioned and even he got arrested for doing his work? I doubt.

Talking about ethics, to tell the truth, I am not aware of all the ethics of journalism. But as a common man who claims to have some sense, albeit rarely, I can say without an iota of doubt that these channels have traded all the ethics of journalism for¬†sensationalism. The above incident was just so absurd that it was obvious to stir a massive outrage. But what about the “items” they show on TV everyday? The other day they were showing a family where some members died in a landslide while they were asleep. The news channel actually aired raw footage of people being dragged out of the debris, zooming-in on the disturbing images of the corpses, during their morning news. It was a really very bad scene to watch, and in my definition, it was utterly wrong. I could not get the scene off my head the entire day. Then in another incident they showed an one-horned rhino fighting and slowly giving up to death after some bastard poacher cut away its horn and an ear. It too was very disturbing. The missus and I could not take it. Maybe we are more sensitive, but aren’t these shows supposed to be suitable for everyone to watch? Yesterday, one channel was showing someone who hanged himself from the ceiling. Disturbing. Very disturbing. Then these crime shows that they air. These shows are made along the lines of Sony’s Crime Patrol. But the extent of goriness that they depict in each series is, I guess,¬†unprecedented! And this is not all, these channels have Facebook pages too! During the recent Kokrajhar violence, where the Bodos were kicking Bangladeshi asses, these channels didn’t think twice before publishing provocative “news”, even on their Facebook page. I personally saw the page of News Live and commented too, when they posted a “Breaking news”, which was grossly provocative. After watching all these, I really wonder, is there any way to keep a check on them? Even worse, are these TV personnel qualified enough? Do they think that they are the savior of the mankind and are above all censorship? Isn’t a news channel supposed to be “unbiased”?