The Voyeuristic Media
Staunch champions of democracy and freedom of speech and expression worldwide hold media in high regards. Media is the fourth pillar of a successful democracy and also a powerful catalyst for social change. Like any other democratic state across the world, India also place a lot of faith in its media, be it print or electronic media. But, do our journalists really adhere to the rules and regulations laid out for them to follow? Well, I guess every avid reader and media observer knows the answer. Amid increasingly cut-throat competition and ruthless race to outdo others does any journalist hardly bother to know whether he is really being ethical in covering news or not.
After the liberalization of Indian economy in nineties Indian media grew leaps and bounds. Its unprecedented growth stunned one and all. But by the turn of the millennium, it ended up becoming a potential market for giant conglomerates rather than being a guiding force that could pave the way for social change and fight for the common welfare of society. Over the years, it has slowly but surely eroded the amount of faith an individual places in the media.
Of all conceivable misdeeds media does it is its voyeuristic nature that is perhaps the most intolerable, and altogether despicable. An unwelcoming encroachment into one’s private life may help certain segment of media win higher TRPs, but it will never ever fetch them ripe applause from serious audience or sensible readers for that matter, which is the highest honor in the truest sense. Everyone has seen, over and over again, that how some news channels indiscriminately engage themselves into intruding in personal lives of film stars. Indiscriminate coverage of personal lives of Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif going viral in all forms of media is the most recent example of Media's voyeuristic nature.
Voyeuristic Media allows us to become voyeurs, to watch in extreme delight from the comfort of our living rooms as the saucy details of celebs lives are aired on the idiot box. Whenever media is surrounded by questions as to why it shows certain type of programs or lionizes certain politicians and celebrities, it comes in a defensive mode and pounds the entire responsibility on the audience it caters to. It says it shows what people want to see. There is no denying we find wild pleasures watching celebs private lives from the comfort of our couches. We are human and that is where originates the desire to be spectators of a human drama. It feasts several senses of ours. But, if people will never be given anything else to watch and will be bombarded with only one kind of monotonous programming, where in the world they will go to entertain as well as enlighten themselves?
There is much to offer in terms of news and entertainment. Media has resources and power to piece together human interest stories from the entire length and breadth of the country and encourage the audiences to watch. Everyone knows there is a vast reservoir stories that needs to be told. Then what are the forces that compel media, more often than not, to resort either to sleaze or unethical documentation of personal lives of celebs to cater to the audience and garner TRPs? This enigmatic fascination of media for celebs’ private life seems endless. Today’s media is in strange contrast to the ethical practices Raja Ram Mohan Roy envisioned Indian journalism to be in accordance with.