Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Wake up Media!

Pranati Sinha

This is not a proud moment for me and for many who loves Guwahati. Guwahati to me is a city of love and exuberance; a city that unbinds itself in the songs of Bihu and bestows upon couples the freedom of togetherness. When I first came to the city, I found enchantment in seeing young hearts throbbing every nook and corner; in park, in bazaar, in restaurants.  I was then wondering isn’t there a sense of insecurity, a sense of risk in them? I understood culture administers life. If I am not exaggerated, I would say Guwahati accepts “love”, the most reproached thing in some of our Indian societies. In my opinion, Right to Love is one of the major attributes of a liberal humanist society. In such a mighty-heart city, where people are given freedom to live their dreams and wishes, what rot had taken over those city dwellers who brought disgrace to a teenage girl publicly with no reason. The newspapers and TV channels are making their headlines over the incident and web is going wild by videos and comments. I am pondering and persuading myself to the incident.

What is shocking is the role of public and the regional media. The incident took place for half an hour and the public; the onlookers turned mere bewitched spectators of some raging street drama. What incited those men to act like beasts? They ignored law and order. They disregarded culture; trespassed all morals and values. Added to this mayhem, is the regional media’s frivolity in the name of news. I have observed TV channels of the state, especially one TV channel is tilted towards making news from social networking sites like Facebook; consequently creating sensationalism, scandals and making the masses more confused, aggrieved and frenzied.  There are certain ethics for the media to follow and violation of these ethics will be threatening to the welfare of society. It is noteworthy that there is an indistinct line between ‘private’ and ‘public’ in social networking sites. And a media person should be mindful of this fact. In the run for ‘byte’ and ‘exclusive’ news pieces, the TV journalist fraternity in the regional television networks has become Goebbels’ clones. There are 10 news-based Assamese TV channels which is equal to  the number of other regional TV channels in India like Bengali, Tamil, Telegu! But are they aware of the tools and techniques of their job? 

There are editorial policies especially for social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. In this regard, BBC has outlined long back Do’s and Don’ts for their journalist. The BBC Editorial Policy reads, “The growth of social media has undoubtedly created a generation of people who are willing to make personal information about themselves available online, and much of that information may be considered to have been placed in the public domain - but the fact that material has been placed in the public domain does not necessarily give us the right to exploit its existence, disregarding the consequences.

The alleged cameraman is no wonder an embodiment of savagery. He committed cruelty and crime against the privacy and dignity of the victim and her family. He didn't restrict himself from broadcasting the content which doesn't have any public interest. I suppose, he knew the airing of such inappropriate news would incite or lead to disorder. He intentionally ignore all. If this is the role of media, days are not far when crime could be created and served to the public. 

This awful incident has also many other aspects to it. The transitional period of the society, the overwhelming artificiality, and the blinding materialism are also taking their toll. There seems to be an indefinable, incurable morbidity threatening the society. I wonder would it be possible to stop such atrocious crimes? 

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