Monday, June 05, 2006

On the Media by the Media..

Siddarth Varadarajan helps me out by writing on the media from an insider's perspective and thus relieves me of having to scratch my itch to write on the biased nature of the media's coverage of the Reservation saga.

Clearly, the Television Media in India, as Prabhash Joshi of the Jansatta has argued, lacks education in social science. By fielding tyros as reporters and analysts, the Television media is doing gross injustice to coverage of social issues in our country. With the exception of a few, the Television Media-people lack the basic social senses that are required of them. Sample these headlines, "Reserve vs Deserve" in CNN-IBN, "Democracy vs Quotacracy"!..

The CNN-IBN in an eyewash attempt, called upon Vinod Mehta, Naresh Trehan, Purushottam Agarwal and one of the YFE doctors to answer the question whether the media was biased, anchored by Sagarika Ghose. If they had an iota of a sense of fair play they should have called upon an OBC/ Dalit face to put up their case. They didn't.

Barkha Dutt, was no better. I attended one of her "We-the people" shows on the issue and glaringly, Dutt took the debate forward assuming that those who were for reservation were only those who had been benefitted out of the same!. Callousness in a so called star reporter. Dutt perhaps has never heard of John Rawls or the concept of social merit. When a person was placing his views using the conceptual perspective of John Rawls, Dutt interrupted him asking, tell are pro-reservation or not, without giving him space to argue out his position on a theoretical basis. Yet another proof that the mainsteam television media in this country today merely likes to scratch surfaces rather than plumb depths.

In 25 days of hectic reporting, analysing, regurgitating and news-byting, there was no serious effort to show tabulations of OBCs in the country, no serious effort to elucidate on the NSS' findings, no effort taken at all to highlight the positive effects of positive discrimination, as for eg in JNU, clearly tilting the debate in the favour of anti-reservationists. Sagarika Ghose was perhaps a situation where the political class was united in this issue, it was the media that tried to play the role of Opposition, good indeed, only perhaps it would have been substantial and real, if they had provided the voices of the other an equal amount of play.

1 comment:

arvindh said...

Thank you for the link to Varadarajan's excellent article!