YES. This may seem like an illogical and a moronic title but that’s what has been happening in our country for quite some time. Organisations and Sources which are supposed to be providing us with knowledge about the world and our surroundings have completely changed and instead are only competing amongst themselves for the “Top Spot”, more TRP and a greater market share which has not only led to our lives being clouded by negativity and hate but has also led people to be bitterly divided and resentful of the individuals and groups opposed to their choice of parties, leaders, ideas and concerns. The other major defect of the media is twisting of facts. Media often twists facts to make it look more controversial and interesting.
The fallen standards of the Media in our Country can be blamed on a single practice – Sensationalism. Sensationalism, is the presentation of stories in a way that is intended to provoke public interest or excitement, at the expense of accuracy. Media Outlets indulge in sensationalism in today’s news coverage extensively. Reporters (aka Un-official Spokespeople OF Political Parties) are criticized for exaggerating the facts in the name of getting higher TRP or more channel viewership. They also routinely write and run “Clickbait” headlines to boost advertising sales and in turn earn more revenue.
One event can be deemed newsworthy, but what we have seen in recent times is that the media today have taken it upon themselves to turn an ordinary story about a somewhat important event into something that is covered for weeks or even months. This eventually causes the viewers (public) to find it difficult to understand the reality of what was covered. They tend to waver away from important stories and news issues in turn focus on the less important pieces of information which is not ideal in the longer run for our society and the country as a whole.
Media nowadays portrays non-issues as real issues, while the real issues are side-lined or quite simply ignored. A glimpse at any of Indian news channels would send a shiver down the spine and make you feel bad for taking the news coverage of old for granted. Rather than publishing real issues that public should be informed about like, the steady rising number of COVID-19 Cases, the bad economic condition of our country, farmer protests, the rising unemployment rates there are special 1 hour shows on TV news channel about how the journalists are doing their duty of chasing Bollywood Stars around in their cars while shouting at them simultaneously.
Most people nowadays do not have the time to consider all these sides of the story and fact check it to get a balanced news report when they pull up a news story on their phone or while changing channels while watching television, which makes sensationalist news even more controversial. Besides carefully going through stories to get the truth, the viewers would also have to consider if the news they are reading every day is in fact accurate. Sensationalist news pieces impacts our lives every day without many even realizing it, but in reality, this practice is hurtful not just to the public but also to the journalism industry.
Due to these malpractices I believe that the overall respect for any form of media has fallen greatly simply because of the use of sensationalism, which can be seen as demeaning to the industry. By twisting facts and publishing wrong news, media not only breaches the right to privacy of those who are being wrongly portrayed but is also in breach of the right to receive information of the general public.
Next time a headline or story catches your eye when you’re reading the news, take a moment to think about if that piece of news was impacted by sensationalism or bias. If it does, you might feel betrayed that a story you were genuinely interested in was actually misleading and not entirely true to the actual event.
The Media is termed as one of the most important components of Indian Democracy. If it has been given such a status, it must also abide by the responsibilities that come with it. Reporters and newsroom managers need to develop a gut instinct for setting limits in promoting coverage. If you have a legitimate, exclusive news story that no one else has, there’s no harm in advertising that fact. But when words like “exclusive” are overused on mundane, daily news stories, they lose their value. The media also needs to show more concern about disseminating inaccurate theories. Journalistic ethics call for journalists to take responsibility for the accuracy of reported pieces. We have to ask if sacrificing accuracy is worth the immediate coverage and speculations.