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The Fourth Estate.

December 11, 2010

This was something I wrote in my blog over two years ago. I feel this stands relevant even today.

 

The First Estate is the Clergy. The Second Estate is the Government. The Third Estate being the People.

The Media, is the Fourth Estate.

The Fourth Estate, or the Fourth Pillar, as the Media is hailed now, has the self imposed responsibility of being the watchdog for the well being and functioning of the remaining ”Three Estates”. The Media has a mind of its own. An opinion of its own.

The Media, specially in India, is mushrooming and growing with its aggressive presence. There is a new Media Company being setup almost every other day. Which raises an all important question. Do we have a proper and unbiased media in our country ? Which rises above petty competition and stops vying for the title of “The No.1 News Channel in India” and so on ?

The same news is flashed on all the media channels, albeit with different fonts and graphics filled with gory images. The news is sensationalised and given a hep and snazzy look. Every incident which appears to be ”different” , ”interesting” , ”suspicious” and ”mysterious” is guaranteed a 24×7 coverage by the channels. Prime time shows with equally zany titles and background scores are broadcasted on all the channels. Any other issue of importance is given a customary 5-6 minutes coverage before they ”move on to the big story of the day” .

Channels compete with each other for dishing out the maximum content and the scoop from their ”sources”. The same bit of sound byte becomes an “Exclusive. Available only on Your Channel”, on all the channels. It is obvious now that the Media , atleast the electronic media , in its effort to stay in the competition is resorting to “Whatever it takes” to keep its audience glued to their coverage. What the Channels forget, in their rat race is, while being “Refreshingly Different” or “Sabse Tez” they forget “Credibility.First” which even the channels which promise to deliver, fail to do so.

The Media is always critical about the faltering system and the dismal state of affairs. They have , on a few occasions , managed to spur the normal average citizen into fighting for a cause , like in the Jessica Lal case. But these are examples which are far too rare and sparse , considering how seriously the Media takes itself in India. Alas, “New You can Use” was never actually useful but for giving us our “Daily Dose of Entertainment”.

Its important the Media shows a degree of self restrain when it covers a sensitive issue. More often than not, we find the reporters voicing away their opinions and ”what could have been’s” on live telivision. The channels must be careful with its content and scrutinize all its reports, and make sure they are not biased. Every channel seems to have an agenda of its own. Some channels, which are “Refreshingly Different” are more of entertainment channels with small bulletins of news squeezed in here and there.

With over 20 news channels beaming across the nation, and more in the pipeline, its high time a regulatory authority is setup which monitors all the actions of these channels. Its time the media stops taking itself too seriously and report ”as is” and leave it to the average citizen to form an opinion about the news.

Let there be a change in the working system of these channels, lest its too late.

For, all the pillars of a construction must be equally strong for a stable free standing structure!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarayu permalink
    February 27, 2011 4:30 pm

    There is much to be said in favour of modern journalism. By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.- OSCAR WILDE

    Its a very sensible perspective..people are usually manipulated through it all..a governing body would do everyone good !

    • March 1, 2011 12:37 pm

      This was something which I wrote 2-3 years back. The media went on to form a self-regulatory body called the News Broadcasters Association (NBA). But, the larger question is, where does the media draw a line for itself? Won’t there be instances of overlooking mistakes?

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