The glee and irresponsibility with which the media handled [tag]26/11[/tag] was watched by all. but, at what cost?
On the first night – there was [tag]CNN IBN[/tag] giving a blow by blow account of the movement of the Rapid Action Force commando’s. I shouted, impotently at the TV screen, they get TV reception at the Taj. but the details increased. it is the point where i more or less muted the volume and moved to [tag]twitter[/tag].
And, then it progressively got worse. every idiot with an OB van parked themselves outside the Taj and the Trident and began not only broadcasting live from the scene – compromising the lives of the security forces & the hostages – but also began speculating and putting out rumours in the name of news.
The channels put out the identity of those inside – risking their lives. “The Global CEO of Unilever is having a meeting with his top brass at the Taj” — they blared. Luckily those people got out.
[tag]Rajdeep Saredesai[/tag] screeched, on Friday, that the CST was under attack again. Half an hour later he bleated out an apology.
[tag]Barkha Dutt[/tag], the other doyen of journalism, asked a relative waiting outside the Taj if they considered the possiblity of their dear one being dead. soon she began getting emotional sounding like a frog on LSD.
As the seige progressed [tag]Arnab Gowsami[/tag] resembled a screeching banshee. he mangled the news, quivered with rage and kept attacking all and sundry like a rabid dog on heat.
and, these are considered the best of among journalists.
When the [tag]Nariman house[/tag] battle was on, a Hindi channel journalist – you couldn’t see his face only hear his voice – asked the commander of the NSG ” dead bodies ki condition kya hai”. The look that the commander gave him was priceless.
There was [tag]Rajat Sharma’s[/tag] India TV that spent half an hour or more on the fact that the terrorists were consuming alcohol. Maybe he knew the name of the whores supplied as well… maybe he was the supplier !
And there was Kishore Ajwani or Star News. Shirish and Rajni - who belong to the same alma mater (MICA) describe it better than i can, so i will quote their open letter in its entirety here :
We remember the congratulatory mails when Kishore Ajwani became a prominent news anchor. But yesterday when we were trying to get updates about the terror attack we were aghast to hear him…
Was this a serious news guy or a pimp, peddling his wares all dressed up in garish tones? The screaming voice sounded like gleeful auctioneer raising the bids higher and higher “aur yeh 1945 ka behterin…….” though in his case the script would have probably read “Aaj ki taaza khabar, pachaas TRPs ke liye pesh hai Star News exclusive, yeh aatank ka khaufnak khel.”
Yes all news anchors were hyper, but then there is a difference between a sense of urgency and the style of delivery that Mr Ajwani used. We all know the cut-throat race for TRPs, but did you, Mr. Ajwani even stop to think that this was also a human story, a tragedy involving real people. While Rajni & I were worried about which one of our friends could be at the hotels or the airport, there you were, milking the story for all its worth, even if it meant adopting a style more suited to women of negotiable affections.
Today the scenario continued with Mr. Ajwani plugging Star News in his reportage… We know we are watching Star News, we don’t need you tell us what a great job Star News is doing reporting the carnage. As a respected anchor, do you think that during this time of crisis such a blatant plug for your channel was called for?
You, Mr. Ajwani, as a MICAN ought to have known better. Because in some way, as a fellow MICAN, it puts you and me on the same level, and frankly that’s not a level I wanna fall to.
shirish raut (PGP 1999)
rajni menon (PGP 2000)
these are the same journalists who called for the heads of politicians. but, the politicians, however bad they are, will still bow to public pressure and resign. Whom are these peddlers of death responsible to ?
To all those of you who want to be involved – write to the channel owners, write to sponsors … threaten to stop buying sponsor products if they continue advertising on these channels if these people remain. Civic action does not end with politics and politicians. it applies to all sections of society.
There is a move to take out a PIL against news broadcasters. I am going to be a part of it. At some point of time in life i was told don’t take cudgels against the media on your blog, you won’t get work. So be it. i will survive. But, as a citizen i have to do something constructive, beyond lighting candles and putting up FB status messages.
And, finally – how many people died at CST station. Do they not matter because they are the ‘masses’ – are only the elite classes who sit at the Taj and the Oberoi worthy of coverage? Or is their [tag]media bias[/tag] against people whom, the media don’t hang out with?
We talk about the western response to terrorism. I followed the 9/11 coverage. the journalists behaved with dignity as did politicians of all hues and shades. There was no finger pointing Our politicians and our journalists are just venal.
Broadcast Regulations anyone ? If news broadcasters are going to act as pimps then maybe we need to look at new laws that govern these pimps …..