Aajki taaza khabar

Come last week a freelance journalist approached me after my talk in a conclave to seek my inputs on ‘ minorities and Indian media ‘ . During the tête-à-tête various incidents from leading dalies started flashing infront of my eyes.

There was this news once about the rape and murder of a trans-woman by a group of transphobic men, it was widely covered on almost all social media platforms. What was deeply saddening about the news was, the way it was reported, and I think it’s rampant especially when it comes to the offences associated with the minorities ( I am not referring to a religion by this word because that’s what comes to our mind , thanks to our media).

Sensationalism
The news is given a ‘tadka’ of sensationalism to provoke excitement at the cost of accuracy. For example, It could be a fight between two groups over a property dispute (no other aspect) however such news might not attract more eyeballs and hence ‘caste’ is added to make it spicy. Stories are turned into sob stories to stimulate the right side of the brain of the readers.

Consent
It should be a punishable offence if stories are pushed without the consent of the person on whom it’s based, even for a small tweak. Media shouldn’t be taking anybody for granted. I have read the draft of a story on my friend who is a child abuse survivor and it was absolutely bizarre. He is a phoenix, a warrior however was reduced to a Nirupa Roy from Deewar. His parents were portrayed as villains to intensify the story.

Tonality
At times the tonality of the news is vulgar. When a rape crime is reported, the focus shifts to detailing the act rather than the inhuman or criminal aspect of it. It ends up titillating the reader rather than creating a fear for the crime.
What was gravely inhuman about the rape and murder reportage of the trans-woman was also the tonality of it. The news implied that he ( reflects media’s insensitivity towards one’s gender pronoun) deserved to be raped because he (they do it so often) lied about his gender. Indian media (mostly) happen to be blithely unaware about the LGBTI+ community especially trans persons. They prefer sensationalising the section 377 judgement by calling it ‘Gay Sex Law’ rather than understanding and reporting it responsibly.

Flawed sampling
Another major flaw is the generalisation when statements are made on behalf of minorities. Putting forward views of some very few visible faces (controversial at times) can’t make up for the whole community. So, rather than covering what’s already been covered, the media should put in efforts in unearthing every nook and corner of the community to understand the overall standpoint. Politicisation can completely shift the focus of a movement and that’s what media needs to be careful about if they want to support a movement genuinely.

Media is the fourth pillar of democracy and hence need to act sensibly and responsibly. They can make or break a movement. Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and thorough.

Published by amitakaradkhedkar

An architect of my own self who has gone through a voyage of self discovery to embrace my true self.

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