टेलीविजन चैनलों के अंदर और बाहर की बातों पर यह लेख वर्ष 2005 में लिखा गया था और उसी समय छपा था लेकिन इसकी प्रासंगिकता बनी हुई है.
As you sow, so you reap. I was reminded of these age-old words of wisdom when two disgraceful incidents related to television reached my ears. One day, during my recent visit to Central Production Centre of Doordarshan, I got a call from one of my friends in NDTV wanting to share a juicy story.
He whispered, "An MMS carrying 'hot pictures' of three female anchors (from three different news channels) is being circulated in the Delhi's under-market." Ironically, all three girls are Delhi-based and well-known television faces.
Naturally, the MMS has already been viewed by a large number of journalists in the city. These girls are red with embarrassment and one has reportedly even left the city to save face.
The second incident is no less thought provoking. India TV - always on the lookout for slime and sleaze - rehashed an old footage of Govinda meeting Dawood as a breaking news and cried foul the day through.
The story hit the actor-politician Govinda hard and he was found defending his position in media. To stretch the breaking-news further perhaps, India TV contacted Govinda to have his latest take under the garb of taking his version in the form of an interview.
Govinda found this as a good opportunity to hit back when he learnt that the intended interview would be live and the interviewer Rajat Sharma himself.
Soon after the interview started, Govinda countered Rajat with the unimaginably embarrassing personalised counter-questions about his personal credibility and character.
The viewers had a hearty laugh combined with sadistic pleasure. The channel chief had a tough time hiding his sweat. Both these incidents became the talk of the media circle and TV journalists were stumped, not knowing what to do.
I have not seen even a single word written on this issue so far. Some of them wondered who will write about it and how? And when my friends from various media houses urged me to pen down the same in one of my columns, I reflected on the entire episode.
What concerned me the most was to see the attitude change amongst the mud-throwers when some of them stood drenched publicly. The other side of the no-holds-bar journalism has started unveiling its face.
Media, which was irresponsible enough to reveal the identity of the MMS victim of DPS RK Puram through indirect suggestions and shots, is hiding its face today. I can understand the plight of the female journalists (of which I know one couple very well), and I consider them victims too.
But these incidents, I hope, serve as an eye-opener to all those guardians of morality in the Fourth Estate who think they would not be judged by the parameters of judgment they set for others.
They were proved wrong - thanks to the growing abuse of technology and increasing critical understanding of media's functioning among
the media's users. Taking lessons from such mistakes, it seems, the recent Delhi's bomb blast was given quite a sensible coverage this time.
Though Jagran seemed settling its own scores on the tragedy, most of the other channels tried to mind their words. Aaj Tak took the lead in restraining itself from fishing in troubled water and others did not hesitate to follow.
These days, we hear a lot about development journalism. What does this term mean?
The term is simple. This is a kind of journalism which deals with the issues pertaining to the development of the nation as a whole (not just its over-fed urbanised middle class viewers and their make-believe problems) be it urban poor, or its hilly, mofussil and rural segments.
This term has gained currency in the past few years because of the advent of private players in the television news business. It is often complained that news media, because of its commercial compulsions of circulation and TRPs, do not accommodate the issues of development journalism.
It overlooks the issues related to the 70 per cent of India. Hence, a strong case in favour of development journalism exists.