Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Agartala blasts coverage by national channels

This is no joke, this is no satire, this is no fake news. This is reality of today’s television media.

Today in the late evening, serial blasts rocked Agartala, capital of north eastern state of Tripura. Two people got killed and dozens got injured, some were in critical condition. The blasts, both in intensity and number of casualties, were very similar to the blast(s) that happened in Mehrauli area of Delhi last Saturday (on 27th September).

Now contrast the coverage and importance given to both the blasts by our ‘national’ television media. They flashed the news, called it breaking news (some rare times when they actually use the term wisely) and talked to their reporters (many of them don’t have reporters in Tripura and they appoint reporters just in Assam to cover whole of North East. Unfortunately for them, blast didn’t happen in Assam).

But they ran out of steam after an hour or so. Remember they were screaming on top of their voices for whole day when blast in Mehrauli had happened.

I can understand the national news channels’ ‘difficulties’ and ‘constraints’. As I put earlier, most of them don’t have full-time reporters in Agartala so were handicapped to get more information. Connectivity in north eastern states is not world-class so getting data and information becomes even more difficult. Maybe even government keeps a tight noose on media in those areas, I don’t know.

Clearly they didn’t have enough ammunition to ‘play up’ the news for hours and hours as they did when Mehrauli blast took place. Although sometimes I wonder that if they can play up a silly 2-minute video from YouTube about a lion and boar for almost half an hour news bulletin, what stops them to play up such news?

But this was not shocking. They have right to editorial discretion. And this discretion was shocking.

Around 10-11 PM (barely a couple of hours had passed since they first flashed the news of bomb blasts in Agartala), almost all of the so-called national news channels were flashing the following breaking news on their screen –

“Shahrukh Khan attends the premier of Abhishek Bachchan’s film Drona”

The news that there were no differences between Bachchan family and Khan family was so exciting for most of our national news channels that they forgot Agartala blasts. The grief was relegated to scrolling ticker in many of the channels and the stars had arrived on top.

I remember one of my friends telling me that an indignant girl from north eastern state had once asked some leading journalist in a seminar – ‘why do you put the news of rape of a girl in Delhi on front page of national edition, whereas when such cases happen in north east it never gets mentioned? Do our national journalists believe that the modesty of a girl from north east is lesser to that of a Delhi girl?”

Such questions must have again arisen in minds of people from north eastern states again today. Two lives of Delhi are more important to the country than those in Tripura? In fact, forget the lives of people, Shahrukh Khan and Bachchan family is more important than dying people in Tripura? Give me a break. And please give TRP a break.

Faking News team expresses its grief and dismay over blasts that took place in Tripura. Even though some of our fake news reports have even made fun of terrorists activities and situation, but we do believe strongly that this nuisance has to be done away with for good.

Bachchan family and Khan family might have no differences, but with each blast, the distance between a Srivastav family and Siddiqui family or between a Mishra family and Mirza family is growing. I hope one day our national television news channels would flash the breaking news of these families forgetting their differences and coming together.


पंकज said...

very true. Not only politician but National media too, neglect North east issues.

SuMiT said...

true...yeah i was really very much upset with those news channel.,...parents are calling me...telling me we've heard one blast...and in channels they are showing abhishek bacchan,,,disgusting

Aparna Kar said...

Well penned thoughts. The media needs a life. We're so callous about most things happening around us- and specially mainland India about the fringing states. I'd not be surprised if the headlines were SRK's bitch got married to Aish's dog.. or whatever.

I hail from Agartala and am currently residing in Boston. And my weariness knows no bounds. Sickening attempts to spread panic in the festive season -what good will it be to anyone? Mindless killing of innocent people is disgusting - no matter in which part of the world.

Rajkamal said...

You are tell me how many newspapers in Agartala flash front pagers about news of rajasthan or say Pondichery. Its all about what news sells where...its all about money and business and always ethics take backseat...y blame media...thats the case with each and every discourse in India,,, so no use crying foul.....each and every media house either pushes its own agenda or they just roll money

mahesh said...

@ rajkamal
I guess you are more sick that writer of this blog.
Newspapers in Agartala are REGIONAL, and even then they DO publish stories about tragedies and deaths from other parts of India.
Whereas our television media calls itself NATIONAL, and hence you can't compare newspapers of Agartala and them. Use some logic and common sense, both of which you definitely lack.
As far as 'selling' news is concerned, why not show porn, that will sell more. ^#$$&^%
TV journalists have to make a choice where they are journalists or television pimps.

Sidhartha said...

it's true and it's a reality

the news of agartala blast has no relevance for these greedy news channels in comparison to drona premiere coverage

it's a pity what else can be more disguisting ,they are not national news channels only regional catering to specific sections, regions and interest groups

Doordarshan need to do something but there also red tape rules

Anonymous said...

Sadly, it is the very fact that the 'national' media ignores the north east was what made the north east safe from the new brand of Islamic terrorism that we see in 'mainland' India nowadays. True the north east has its own brand of terrorism, but the terrorists in this area till now had not resorted to serial bomb blasts like Islamic militants do so often. This is a shocking new development, which deserves as much attention as the blasts in other high profile cities like Delhi, Bangalore and Ahmedabad.

However, contrary to popular belief, privately owned media houses are not in the business for charity and they have to cater to their customers' tastes, which, unfortunately, does not concern itself over the loss of insignificant lives in the godforsaken north east. Even many people in 'mainland' India are, probably, not even aware of the north east's existence!

zakir said...

@ anonymous
this serial blast was not north-east's own brand of terrorism but a part of Islamic terrorism that we are seeing in India today. The blasts took place in Durga Puja shopping stop and HUJI and Bangladeshi immigrants are suspected of carrying out the attack, so 'national' media had no reason to behave this way. They may not be there for charity, but they are also not there for entertainment, if they call themselves news channel, they should behave like one, else better surrender the license and start an entertainment channel.

SUNITI said...

This is not the case of Tripura only . The so called national media covers only metros . It nelects small town /villages until some story like flood is there.

Nitin Alabur said...

So, according to this article, if the rape cases in Tripura or eastern part of India get equal amount of publicity, would that equate to equal dignity?

This article sounds more like,"the media gives no bhaav to East India". IMHO the women in E.I have been spared by the media, please dont expect a lot of media glare, its the worst thing that could happen.

Now, my argument supporting the actions of media: New delhi is the capital of the country, so theres no denying the fact that if that city is screwable, pretty much any part of this country is screwable. if a woman can be raped in the Capital of a country, its possible that a woman anywhere else in the country can be raped.

Ever wonder why the Pentagon was targetted during the 9/11 attacks? Because thats the seat of world military power. And if you attack that place, you can pretty much attack any place. The same logic applies to the capital cities of any country. And on a micro level, the same is true with teh state capitals. If something happens in Agartala, the whole of tripura would know about it through the media, but do you get to know the rape incident that occurred in some rural part of Tripura?

In the recent times the Indian Media, is nothing but 99% bull crap, and I agree. Most notable, CNN-IBN is the official channel of the Congress party. I am not sure about the alignment of other channels. But, if you notice the recent bombings and riots, a channel like IBN would air a lot of crap regarding the states governed by the BJP. Y? not because they want to give it so much attention, but because they want to give a bad image to BJP.

The national media that you are referring to are private channels that have a set target of revenue, which most of the times depends on how much crap they can air. Thats why AB catching cold is a headline news because there are enough jobless people in this country watching such news. Its been ages since I watched DD News, and I would still hope that this channel airs good/unbiased/knowledgeable content!

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