Arnab-Barkha face-off amplifies disturbing trends

When a section of the Indian media tries to make a case for prosecution of industry colleagues, it’s a disturbing trend. It’s more worrisome when the case being made out is based on the assertion either-you-are-with-us-or-against-us, implying that plurality of opinion (no matter how unpalatable the `other’ view is) is not welcome and that everyone needs to subscribe to just one narrative.

Is it a case of bloated egos?

Could be.

Is it a case of a section of powerful media succumbing to political pressure?

Very much possible.

Is it a case of corporate vested interests at work?

Why not? As most Indian media organisations, especially the big ones, are owned and run by corporations who treat media just as a business.

Or, is it an example that in a big democracy like India a pillar of democratic right --- freedom of expression --- now is being readied for sacrifice at the altar of short-term gains?

The Arnab Goswami-Barkha Dutt (AG-BD) spat that’s keeping the nation interested presently and consuming lot of online space probably is the result of all the reasons listed in the previous para - and much more.

While the AG-BD scrap, which has spilled over everywhere, has managed to corner eyeballs (wonder whether BARC would have data on this saga), another media related development seems to have largely gone unnoticed.

According to the Mukesh Ambani-controlled online publication Firstpost, controversial teleevangelist Zakir Naik, accused of allegedly spreading hate through his sermons on his TV channel Peace TV, has slapped a Rs 500 crore defamation suit on Times NOW and AG.

Why are we mentioning this defamation suit by Naik at all here? Simply because such cases will chip away at the foundation of Indian democracy and Indian media’s role as a watchdog or the Fourth Estate. This will also encourage vested interests in the country to take on more often a divided news media.

Coming back to the face-off between AG and BD, it echoes many things, but more sharply two facts: growing intolerance in the country towards plurality of thought and opinion and increasing commercialisation of a news media where fact and fiction mix freely without alerting the consumer.

Old school journalists have been aghast at the public display of verbal fisticuffs and washing of dirty linen (and egos) terming such behaviour from two high-profile news anchors as “shrewish and infantile," egoistical and unworthy of such perceived role models for youngsters in the media.

On the other hand, there are supporters of AG too, who is said to have started it all when during one of his recent shows he advocated that everybody who’s seen as anti-national (to be defined, probably, as per standards laid down by him and like-minded people), including media persons, should be legally prosecuted and punished. BD and some others media pros waded into the debate sullying the waters further with views and counter views.

Where does that leave thousands of faceless and not-so-high profile journalists trying to eke out a living being a watchdog far away from the limelight?

That’s a question that the media itself has to answer if it has to regain its fast-losing credibility and also protect its freedom that’s so essential in a democracy like India. For the present, it seems the Indian media is reeling under the Donald Trump effect.

Latest Reads
CNNMoney new section will be about the fastest growing economy; MoneyStream app launched

MUMBAI: Attracting 1.8 million average monthly page views, witnessing a 37 per cent growth in video consumption and 16 per cent in unique browsers month-on-month from India in less than a year’s time is not smooth. In its ambitious plan of global expansion, CNN Digital is leaving no stone unturned...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Content a 'Game of Thrones'; AT&T's control over HBO, Cartoon Network, Warner Bros faces regulatory lens

The global media landscape is resulting in a new juggernaut as an internet and cable behemoth yesterday purchased an entertainment conglomerate making the former unmatched in its size and reach to consumers through home broadband, smartphones, satellite television and a battery of movies and cable...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
US$ 4.5 bn expected from IPL rights; SC recommends accounts scrutiny

The Supreme Court on Friday froze all financial transactions between the BCCI and state cricket associations by directing the apex body not to disburse any funds till it resolves to abide by the Justice RM Lodha panel recommendations on reforms by 3 December . The top court ordered that none of...

Television TV Channels Sports
TVS Tyres is co-presenter for Asian Champions Trophy 2016

Continuing its strong connect with sports, TVS Tyres has associated with Asian Champions Trophy 2016 by becoming the co-presenter. The Asian Champions Trophy is one of the premier hockey tournaments, a much sought after annual international competition promising some great hockey action. This...

Television TV Channels Sports
Q2-17: Zee Learn declares maiden interim dividend

The board of directors of the Essel group’s education company Zee Learn Limited (ZLL) have declared a first time ever dividend of 5 percent per equity share of Re 1 each for the quarter ended 30 September 2016 (Q2-17, current quarter).

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
Whether BARC action can stop unethical practices?

MUMBAI: Can businesses and industries practise their art of selling fairly although they have 'Fair Practices' training during academic courses, workshops and several ISO and other certifications? There seems to be the fear of the lawman, and not the law in India. If the traffic cop is watching,...

Television TV Channels Viewership
TV Superhighway: beIN, Yaddo, AfricaXP have joined us, says Magine CEO Ambuj Goyal

CANNES; Magine has secured partnerships with four of the industry’s most exciting sports, documentary and entertainment content providers. Partnerships with beIN, the international media group and owner of MIRAMAX; Yaddo, the new documentary streaming service headed up by former head of The BBC’s...

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
Colors emerges strong on strength of Naagin I & II

MUMBAI: One of the top rated shows Naagin Season 2 helped Colors reach a top-ranking position.

Television TV Channels GECs
Pakistan Broadcasters Association to oppose PEMRA Indian content ban

MUMBAI: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) shocked both Pakistan and Indian broadcasters when it issued an order blanking out  all Indian content from Pakistan’s television channels on 19 October.

Television TV Channels GECs

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories