Sunday, September 25, 2005


Cricket ennui

I am tired of reading about the bickerings of a cricket team on the front pages of all newspapers. Aren't you?

In a cricket-crazy country like India, I admit anything affecting the cricket team is important news. But for the spat between the coach and captain to dominate the front pages of newspapers for three days in succession, to the exclusion of all else is certainly over the top. Isn't there anything more important happening in the country and world?

As an aside: newspapers reported that Chappell said in his e-mail that Ganguly was physically and mentally unfit to be captain. I have read his e-mail, and I don't find those exact words anywhere in the e-mail. Though there are enough hints to that effect, is the media justified in putting words in the mouth of Chappell.

The media's recent reporting on the stock markets is another example of irresponsiblity.

Shouldn't the media put in place some mechanism to regulate itself?

the media's business these days seems to be sensationalising news rather than channeling it!

I was reading through Zaki's blog and came upon this post about some 'test' for Atheists and how he passed the test and you didn't ...found the discussion interesting and it reminded me of some of the arguments we used to have! :)

..couldn't imagine why the test assumed that just cos' someone is an atheist, they would be comfortable using foul language or uttering things they would shudder to even think of...well, if that doesn't say something about the credibility of the test!
I think that was just a full tp test. Not to be taken too seriously :) Yeah, I remember those conversations too.

I had a lot more to say about how newspapers report news, or what passes off for news these days.

I think it's got a lot to do with all the competition. I think the reports about the prime minster's office having serious concerns about the stock market and the salman-aish telephone conversation are classic cases of irresponsible reporting.

What if it is now proved that the voices did not belong to salman and aish. Will HT or all the other newspapers and television channels have an apology as prominently as they carried the news? I doubt very much.

There are so mnay instances. The Mallika Sherawat video, the Kashmiri video...

The problem is that the more such things happen, the more the media makes a case for external regulation.
External regulation!
Though it's true that the scene is bad, how will external regulation change it?
What will this external agency do?
Instead, will having an ombudsman help?
If the media is really interested in getting its act right, they will definitely open up for a decent public editor. If that doesn't happen, no amount of external regulation will help.
The Supreme Court's question, whether newspapers need to be rated, is also interesting, though it's more about whether newspapers are fit for children.
I don't think external regulation will help at all. My point was that an irresponsible press plays into the hands of the political establishment which wants nothing more than to take more control.
I think the times of did experiment with an ombudsman. Didn't work very well. That doesn't mean it's not a good idea. I think some newspapers abroad already have public editors, the Guardian if I am not mistaken.
We'll know how much of an impact that would have only if it's implemented with some amount of seriousness in India.
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