The Mosquito syndrome

May 14, 2010 at 11:33 pm 6 comments


The fourth estate, in many ways, is the barometer of a nation’s health as an independent, creative and fearless media fiercely adhering to the principles of justice is a definite bulwark to the powers of the state. Deeply reflective of the social, cultural and psychological moorings of the people, the media not just carries out the duty to inform but also shoulders the responsibility to shape the contours of public discourse that paves the way to the emergence of a more enlightened citizen.  While admirably fulfilling its primary role, it has, over the years, contributed immensely to the enrichment of the languages, the art and the culture of the country thereby refining and re-defining the aspirations of its people. Media has indeed been the harbinger, both of continuity and of constructive change.

But of late, a malignant ailment is fast eating into the very moral fabric of our media and that is its collective preoccupation, nay obsession, with the negative, the depressing and the sickening events that happen around us. Through incessant and senseless amplification of the crimes and their cover-ups by the crooks, a cacophony of disdain is unleashed that almost drowns down the sane and the sobering voices of reason.  And while the disturbing facets of the society are highlighted, events that cheer us up, achievements that could inspire the young to a higher purpose of life and individual feats that are worthy of emulation are largely left under reported or scantly treated in the nondescript columns on the inside pages of our dailies.   Thus, an honour killing is necessarily a front page news item when a breakthrough in frontier medical sciences is worthy of only a fifth page beat report; whereas the footage of the latest Maoists or terrorists attack is to be unendingly played on all prime time TV channels, the tireless and yeomen work of individuals and organisations aimed towards the upliftment of our tribal population seldom interests our visual media. The debauch and the wayward behaviour of a miniscule section of the society are projected as signs of progress and as a statement of upward mobility while the unflinching adherence of the overwhelming majority to the time tested values and codes of conduct are treated with absolute contempt. In an age where TRPs, web hits and eyeball retentions are the only measures of value and worthiness, all barriers of morality and decency are transgressed to score high ratings in these parameters of popularity. Our media today is fast succumbing to a serious malady which if left untreated is sure to deal a body blow to the very edifice of our traditional and family structures that has ensured security and continuity to our societies for centuries.

Like the mosquito sucking the blood of healthy people and spreading diseases among them, our media is guilty of sapping the vitality and the positive energies of our youth through an unrelenting focus on the frivolous, the flippant and the blatantly malicious aspects of our national life. Instead of being an instrument in channelizing the hallmark characteristics of idealism and selflessness of the young towards the task of nation building, the media today has a corrupting and demonising influence on them – a far cry from the salutary role it played in shaping men of sterling character during our freedom movement.

Instead of exhibiting the despicable nature of the mosquito, media should be more akin to a bee. Sucking only the nectarine honey and spreading lovely fragrance all around, the activities of the bee are so pregnant with sweetness that it invigorates all that it comes in contact with. Likewise, our media too should, through a conscious promotion of the vibrant and the inspiring, the challenging and nourishing aspects of our public life, ignite the latent goodness of the people and propel them to achieve excellence in selfless endeavours.  That is the vest that our media today need to adorn.

From the stinging mosquito to the humming bee, the media make-over is indispensable.

 Yours

Narayanan

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education@BoP.in A distant dream

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. rekhabaala  |  May 15, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    You hit the point right home… most media these days is either sensationalism or just fluff. and most serious print editors are now only concerned about showing off on TV. the degeneration is complete… and a makeover seems highly unlikely for a long, long time!

    Reply
  • 2. umesh jairam  |  May 15, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Dr Abdul Kalam, former President of India once told about the Israeli newspaper. He could see the front page containing articles/features on agriculture production, bumper crop, etc. The last page carried the sensational news such as murders, kidnapping, etc.

    One of the reasons as where we stand today (when compared to Japan and Singapore) is because of the fourth estate.

    Reply
  • 3. Dona  |  May 17, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Finally somebody has chosen to articulate the plight of a majority of Indians who want a break from the malice propagated by the media. Thanks for taking the responsiblity, Narayanan!

    Reply
  • 4. Rubi  |  May 17, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    What a thought!! I never imagined that these two insects could be compared in such a profound way!. Nice perspective!

    Reply
  • 5. Glenna Meredith  |  May 17, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Well stated. The media has power in every country that has freedom of the press, and they wield it sometimes on a whim. Whether they respond to the public’s appetite or create it, there is a lack of conscience that touts itself as an inviolate right of the journalistic community.
    The only thing that will stop it now is economic in nature. If it can’t make money with this type of coverage, it will stop.

    Reply
    • 6. chapter18  |  May 18, 2010 at 11:03 pm

      Thanks for the comments. A responsible media is what we need if the freedom of the press is to remain sacrosanct.

      Reply

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