The business of truth: Yellow Journalism and Aaj Tak

A few days back, when the death tolls from the blasts in hyderabad  were rising beyond 40 lives, Aaj Tak prime time was filled with an elongated debate on Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt and celebrity convicts. The debate started at 9 PM on prime time and continued till 10 PM, and was then followed by an hour long coverage of entertainment news, results , speculations, crushes, and teenage drama from Indian Idol.

The two be-spectacled, bearded anchors of aaj tak kept hammering their pseudo-intellectual banter on bollywood stars and their crimes on the country, while terrorism gripped a metropolis. Clips of Katrina Kaif visiting Salman in the prison, was shown repeatedly, and Alvira, Arbaaz and Saleem Khan’s footage was not far behind in terms of coverage. Katrina and Salman’s relationship, Alvira’s pilgrimage, Chang’s exit from Indian Idol were the headlines.

A closer look at some of the other TV news channels will reveal a similar story. Zee news and Star News are not far behind. Consumerism today is driving our news channels. Its an age where tabloids are prime time news and truth is a commodity.

Scandal-mongering and sensationalism seems to be easiest way to improve ratings and sell prime time advertisements. What is more disheartening is the likes of aaj tak get away with it. Worse, they also receive awards and recognitions for their journalistic achievements!!

Is the media only about running a business?! What is aaj tak’s social responsibility? Is Salman Khan’s night in jail the obsession of this country? Does human life not count anymore?

When 50+ people died in the London blasts some time back, the whole world came to a standstill, Tony Blair skipped a G8 summit meeting and rushed back. The bombings were all over the place. CNN was telecasting it live from at le4ast 4 subway stations. There was intense scrutiny of the issue worldwide till the perpetrators were caught. The media kept a close watch. And in doing so, they fulfilled their social responsibility.

Aaj Tak’s version of prime time television reporting?!, Well here goes:

” Katrina Kaif boarded a plane…. and met her saajan…” and so on and so forth.. Sucks!! Really, sucks is the word.

Should not cheap thrills be left to tabloids!? I think the newspapers have been a lot more sincere in terms of social responsibility. We still have newspaper headlines talking about current affairs of importance. TOI City bulletins still talk about the ills of the city, the lack of infrastructure, citizen safety almost everyday. Gossip is left to the magazine sections.

 And that is exactly where they should be. Not on prime time 9 o clock television!! News is not entertainment! Guys at Aaj Tak, if there is any need of propaganda in this country, that would be against you.

5 Comments

  1. Hi…
    nothing can beat the discussion on RGV Aag & Sholay…they had a sholay backdrop (bridge where Amitabh died etc.) & 5 anchors, who forgot that they are news anchors not aspiring actors!!!

    I am waiting for Lakme Fashion week…i guess there will be ramp walk & may be…

    God bless us all!!!

  2. Thanx for visiting my blog!

    Good post. and infact I serioulsy believe there should be some kind of check for these media people, all they do is sell yellow journalism and make money

    Shantanu

  3. Yes Shantanu, agree there has to be some sort of policing of the media. Its a debatable and controversial issue and the businessmen who run these media corporates often hide behind the freedom of the press, and utterly abuse it.

    I am all for a web campaign. Let me know if u have ideas.

    Cheers
    D

  4. Hi just read your “The business of truth: Yellow Journalism and Aaj Tak
    “…this piece of writing is just so true..I am doing a Research on the same subject hence came across your blog…I hope my research is a success which deals with ‘content’ in Indian prime time news and I just want to prove how drastically Aajtak has failed!!!

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