Friday, April 23, 2010

Fourth Estate, Breaking News and the IPL Mess

It's that time of the year when our private news channels show nothing but the latest 'Breaking News'. All other 'less important stuff' is put in the back burner - volcano eruptions in Iceland and subsequent air traffic disruptions, storm in West Bengal, Bihar, Assam (which left 110 dead), the impending British elections etc etc.

Now, all the revelations regarding the IPL is fascinating stuff indeed, I am not denying that. Conspiracy Theories, Money, Women, Megalomaniacs, Politicians etc - Maybe even more interesting than the actual games to someone like me who is not an avid cricket fan. But what messes me up is that it is shown relentlessly close to 24/7 till the next 'in thing' hits the idiot box.

I would like to make it clear that I am not against the media relentlessly following a story to its logical end, but they have got to decently report other events taking place in and around the country too.

Another problem with our private news channels is that they will keep reporting on a topic as long as the management feels it's the flavour of the week/month. They don't actually follow the story to its logical end and keep pressures on the powers that be to do their jobs sincerely. Some fourth estate this!

Sometimes I wonder why the advertisers even bother advertising on these channels... Do they really think their target audience is still around between breaks? Is any one at all watching these channels as relentlessly as they are reporting breaking news? A note to the advertisers - please conduct a thorough research/survey to find out if your money (hard earned, I am assuming) is not going down the drain! It will cost you less.

The IPL controversy has already cost Shashi Tharoor his cabinet berth (and we have lost a capable diplomat), Lalit Modi seems to be in line, and last I heard they were digging some thing out of Pawar and Patel's backyard. When will it end? I hope never... not as long as things are set right in the IPL and BCCI.

But you know our private news media, they report as long as a Lalit Modi provides them fodder. Come the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) and then who will ask the questions? It will all be forgotten. Anyone miss Tehelka?

Sometimes I really thank God for Doordarshan, BBC and CNN (word of caution - these are rampant with state propaganda/views).