Thursday, July 13, 2006

This appeared yesterday in www.thestatesman.net, about the role of investigative TV in the aftermath of the blasts in Mumbai, India.



"We reach my colleague’s home in Shivaji Park at 9.30 p.m. and switch the television on. Almost immediately, we hear the anchorwoman on one channel, and she must intellectually be a blonde, tell us that if we are stuck in a traffic jam we ought to send an SMS to a particular number to inform relatives that we are okay. Oh, brilliant! I am stuck in a traffic jam and what do I do? Switch the television on!

I switch channels. Each news channel has a number it suggests can be used to send messages to relatives and friends. And some messages have started to appear on the screen. “Pooja, this is Atul. I am fine”. “Vicky, are you okay?” Of course Mumbai has only one Atul and one Vicky, of course, these messages make perfect sense. Television has achieved its objective, made idiots out of all of us.

The scroll running at the bottom of the screen says in exactly this order – “Phone lines jammed in Mumbai”; “Call 022-xxxxxxxx to make enquiries” or “If you want to be a citizen journalist, call 0120-xxxxxxx”. Excuse me, I just want to be a good husband and tell my wife I am alive. But you, Mr TV anchor, have managed to jam all the phone lines. And don’t tell me the service provider is not giving you a share of the loot. "

> and she must intellectually be a blonde,

A blonde? Why not a Peruvian? Or a Buddhist? Or a low-caste Bihari? How a responsible paper can print such racist slurs is beyond me.
> Oh, brilliant! I am stuck in a traffic jam and what do I do? Switch the television on!

No, you switch your cellphone on. Millions do not have access to traffic jams, cellphones and SMS, or the language the TV broadcast was in - so obviously this is meant for a niche audience. TV on cellphones - it has already happened; obviously no one bothered to inform your reporter, who must have been occupied with the "Use more derogatory racist insults" essay anyway.

> And don’t tell me the service provider is not giving you a share of the loot.

I wouldn't be shocked. But then most of TV is a profit making enterprise. As is this newspaper. Of course, I further assume that journalists get paid to write. (do they get paid more to be insulting?)

She does make a valid point about the futility of broadcasting names on the telly though.

1 comment:

!TEQ-uila Del Zapata said...

Indian Television these days and News is getting more and more funny?
They show all sorts of craps, There are however some channels and one or two newpapers, that are okay, rest all are same.