Friday, March 02, 2007

The Media Moghuls Owe An Apology




The recent coverage of Sanjay Dutt's release in the Television media ignoring the quintessential news of the sacrifice of Major Manish Pitambare at the valley, has created quite an anguish among all the thinking citizens of India. You wonder, if it is the same media which risked its life and went to Kargil to bring home the glorious sacrifice of Indian soldiers and then went to the homes of the widows and raised the issue of thier compensation and brought home the painful truths. Yet, when it is a matter of prioritisation of news, Indian media seems to have suddenly lost the sight. A collective failure of this kind raises anguish among the citizens who feel helpless. Is the media objective enough to review its actions do some "Seedhi Baat" and declare it to all the Indians that it can ill afford to go unpunished?



The whole episode is yet another case in point in the conflict of roles between media and marketing. The marketing role dictates that you catch up with the competitor, show to the world what is rated as hot. But the media role is one of an unbiased and truthful fourth estate. The media cannot sacrifice just because the marketing dictates otherwise. Of late we have seen a lot of such compromises in the media including the print media. The print media is also indulged in elitist journalism, slowly and surely taking away people from the real issues that need the most attention.

The collective conscience of the media needs to be prodded and awakened. The Pranoys, Rajdeeps, Chawlas and Thapars of the media will have to answer the Indian public. I say they even owe an apology. They will only rise in esteem if they do so, that I am sure of.



For the uninitiated, here is the extract of the mail I got that nearly shocked me.




On Tuesday a news swept across all the news channels 'Sanjay Datt relieved by the court'. 'Sirf Munna Not a bhai' '13 saal ka vanvaas khatam' 'alhough found guilty for possession of armory, Sanjay can breath sigh of relief as all the TADA charges against him are withdrawn'. And then many experts like Salman Khan saying 'He is a good person. We knew he will come out clean', Big B 'Datt family and our family have relations for years he's a good kid. He is like elder brother to abhishek'.

His sister Priya Datt 'we can sleep well tonight.it's a great relief' In other news, Parliament was mad at Indian team for performing bad; Greg chapel said something ...; Bomb scare in gorakhpoor express; and Shah Rukh Khan replaces Big B in KBC and Sonia asked PM to consider reducing petroleum prices . But the maximum coverage was given to Sanjay Datt's "phoenix like" comeback from the ashes of terrorist charges. Surfing through the channels, one news on BBC startled me, it read, Hisbul Mujahidin's Most wanted terrorist 'Sohel Faisal' killed in anantnag, India. Indian Major leading the operation lost his life in the process. Four others are injured. It was past midnight, I started visiting the foolish Indian channels, the ones who are 'Sabse TEZ', but Sanjubaba was still ruling. They were telling How Sanjubaba pleaded to the court saying 'I am the sole bread earner for my family' 'I have a daughter who is studying in US who will look after her'. And then they showed how Sanjubaba was not wearing his lucky blue shirt while he was hearing the verdict. Also how he went to every temple and prayed for last some months. A suspect in Mumbai bomb blasts, convicted under armory Act...was being made into a hero. Sure Sanjubaba has a daughter; sure Sanjubaba did not do any terrorist thing as in bombing some place or hijacking an airplane etc.

Possessing an AK47 is considered too elementary in terrorist community and also one who possesses an AK-47 has a right to possess a pistol so that again is not such a big crime; Sure sanjubaba went to all the temples; Sure he did a lot of gandhigiri but then..., people. please read on... Major Manish H Pitambare got the information from his sources about the terrorists' whereabouts. Wasting no time he attacked the camp, killed the Hisbul Mujahidin's supremo and in the process lost his life... to the bullets fired from an AK47. He has a wife and a daughter (just like sanjubaba), age ...18 months. Major Manish never said 'I have a daughter' before he took the decision to attack the terrorist hide out in the darkest of nights! He never thought about his family and his being the bread earner. No news channel covered, they were too busy hyping a former drug addict, an actor in real and reel life, a suspect linked to bomb blasts which killed hundreds. Their aim was to show how he defied the TADA charges and they were so successful that his conviction in possession of armory had no meaning. They also concluded that his parents in heaven must be happy and proud of him. Parents of Major Pitambare are still on this earth and they have to live the rest of their lives without their beloved son. His daughter won't ever see her papa again. Finally, to my generation there is no greater hero than one who laid his life in the name of this great nation.
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