Is India’s Fourth Estate Forgetting Its Role?

I had stopped watching news channels quite a while back and I have a fair enough reason, I can claim. The thing is I could not find news on them! And what good is a news channel, if one cannot find real, honest news on it. What I found was opinions. The news channels never gave us just the facts. They gave us opinions disguised as facts. They feed us their opinions. So to even get an inkling of the actual news facts, one has to watch two channels (atleast!) and that too with opposing counter views.

Then came something that in principle I wanted to watch and tried to, too. The era of panel discussions dawned on news channels. Or shouting matches would be a better name for whatever happens there. The more illogical sentences you can make up and the higher decibel you can manage, the more time you get on prime time national television!

But do we even need this? As a citizen I don’t. I watch a debate on a news channel NOT because I want to be entertained.

I watch it because I want to see some brainstorming on burning issues that concern my country. Sensible, data-backed, experience laden views and counter views that will form the basis of that debate. It is not a battle to be won; it is a debate. Which by definition means: a formal discussion on a particular matter in a public meeting, in which opposing arguments are put forward and which usually ends with a vote.

We need views and counter views that will form the basis of constructive brainstorming and finally lead to a vote. A conclusion to the discussion at hand that is reasonable and to-the-point. We do not need morons on prime time who bring in India’s success in Cricket against Pakistan while discussing cross-border terrorism. We do not need some irrational person screaming their lungs out from our television sets, talking utterly unrelated things to win the argument. To just win that argument!

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The fourth estate is one of the pillars responsible for the development of any country. And it plays its role by asking questions. Reasonable, logical, statistics-backed questions that demand answers from the establishment. They are the platform that provokes brainstorming on issues in the public at large. But what is the Indian media doing?

Even with a self created platform of debates and expert panelists, they have managed to make a joke out of it. They have converted debates and discussions into an entertainment programme that families can laugh on while having dinners, the internet can have a field day with innumerable memes and they themselves can cover their sorry backs for not covering the real issues, for not asking the right questions, for not being what they are supposed to be.

At a time when the social fabric of this country is fraying at the edges, only discussions and opinions arising from multiple debates and brainstorming sessions will bring out a picture that is laden with views and counter views. And only that will help us see the real picture. The fourth estate is the public’s mouth piece, the voice of the nation, atleast that is what it is supposed to be!

Is ours still what it is supposed to be?

This post is part of A to Z Challenge I am doing on this blog for this month. The word for the next post is Coincidence. You can also join the fun and find some writing inspiration, if you are looking for some. 🙂 At the end of each blog post of this challenge, I will share the word for the next post. You are free to use the word and write a post on your blog. Drop the link. I would love to read it. If will also share it, if I love it.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. matheikal says:

    Indian media has sold itself to the govt. At least quite many channels and journals.

    Like

    1. Reshmy Pillai says:

      Yes, the changing equations in the country. Not a good direction for the country though.

      Like

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