Friday March 23, 2018
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Chennai floods: Is national media ‘national’?

Image courtesy: Indian Army

Incessant rains for the past 11 days in Tamil Nadu have left behind nothing but wrack and ruin, especially in the capital city Chennai. It is being termed as the worst rains in the southern state in nearly 100 years, killing as many as 188 people in rain-related incidents.

Dorms, schools, hospitals and airports are flooded and water is neck-deep in low-lying parts of Chennai to the extent that Army’s assistance was sought to rescue the marooned people and deal with the unprecedented natural disaster.

In their hour of tragedy, Chennaiites have come out in large numbers to help the people in need by opening the doors of their homes, malls and offices to strangers and offering them food, shelter and even mobile recharges.

However, the Indian media cuts a sorry figure here by virtue of their lack of action in the crisis.

The apathy of India’s national media has come to the fore, for until this day none of our so-called ‘national news channels’ found the disaster in the state worth covering and reporting.

The people in Tamil Nadu are outraged and furious over the Indian media largely based in Delhi and Mumbai for their apparent callousness and lack of concern towards the tragedy of fellow Indians.

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A resident of Chennai penned an open letter to ‘National News Channels’, excoriating them for conspicuously ignoring the disaster in Tamil Nadu and instead focusing on intolerance debate, Sheena Bora murder case and other issues which could be relevant but not as important as the floods in Chennai that have claimed so many lives.

“I have seen several times in the past when toll-free numbers are set, relief materials collected by each of your channels etc but cannot see the word Chennai floods even in the breaking news section which in any case is breaking a lot of news which are irrelevant. It’s perfectly fine if you don’t cover this news but for heaven sake don’t call yourselves national news channel by any means,” Sujith Kumar posted on Facebook.

The point worth chewing over here is whether or not the events taking place outside the borders of New Delhi deserve as much attention by the media. If it’s not the case, the Delhi-based 24/7 channels should stop calling themselves ‘national news channels’ as they are more into misleading the masses, instead of highlighting the issues faced by the people of the remotest parts of the country.

A mere look at the political map of the country makes it clear that Kashmir is as much a part of India as Delhi is and therefore, the floods in Assam should get as much reportage as floods in Mumbai.

Contrast this with the disastrous, unflagging coverage of Nepal earthquake by the Indian media. The reporters belonging to reputed media houses were literally beseeched by the natives to leave them alone and go back to India considering their “insensitive” coverage of the crisis. #IndianMediaGoHome was the hashtag that trended on Twitter for a couple of days.

My mind also dwells on the media’s coverage of disastrous floods in Kashmir that claimed so many innocent lives, leaving behind wreck and ruin in 2014. The reporters invited the charge of being ‘embedded journalists’ by the locals for “trying too hard” to portray Indian Army personnel as heroes instead of focusing on the plight on the people marooned in the flooded parts of the Himalayan state.

And when there were floods in Assam earlier this year, none of the news channels reported on the tragedy that left hundreds of people dead and lakhs stranded; the sheer scale of the natural disaster deserved more than the lip service. It is as though the North East and southern states of India do not exist for the ‘national’ media based in Delhi and Mumbai.

The big question here is this: if our national news channels, both English and Hindi, can give so much airtime to the earthquake in a neighboring country, namely Nepal, then what stops them from giving due attention to the plight of their fellow Indians in North East and south India.

I feel ashamed to write this being a part of the industry, but let the Truth be spoken. We have totally got our priorities wrong here.

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How Did A Common Man Become Tamil Nadu’s Weatherman ?

The Tamil Nadu weatherman is famous for his correct predictions

Pradeep John is the face behind popular Tamil Nadu Weatherman Facebook page. newsexpress
Pradeep John is the face behind popular Tamil Nadu Weatherman Facebook page. newsexpress

By Ruchika Verma

  • Tamil Nadu weatherman is a common man who predicts the weather
  • His weather forecasts are based on his knowledge of rain and are accurate
  • His page, Tami Nadu weatherman is very famous

We don’t pay much attention to the weather news. It is one of the most ignored sections of newspapers and Television news. Weather forecast seems mundane to most of us. However, it is not mundane anymore. There is a weatherman in Tamil Nadu who takes weather seriously and the world takes him seriously as well.

We often ignore weather forecasts, but Tamil Nadu's weatherman takes it seriously.
We often ignore weather forecasts, but Tamil Nadu’s weatherman takes it seriously.

This Tamil Nadu weatherman has an almost cult-like following in the southern state. Pradeep John is a self-proclaimed lover of rain and although he does not have any degree in meteorology, he provides weather information which is followed more closely than Met Department’s.

Pradeep’s Interest In Weather 

Tamil Nadu’s weatherman’s interest in weather began when he was 12 years old and witnessed his first cyclone in Chennai.

Also Read: 10 Famous Indian Scientists Who Made A Difference

The floods of 2015 in Chennai was a turning point for Pradeep. During this flood, Chennai witnessed its worst rainfall in over 100 years and people were in a state of panic. When they wanted some guidance and information about the heavy rainfall, the activity on Pradeep’s Facebook page increased rapidly. His posts on the predictions of rainfall went viral and he became an overnight sensation.

Pradeep witnessed his first cyclone in Chennai when he was only 12 years old.
Pradeep witnessed his first cyclone in Chennai when he was only 12 years old.

Here is the list of Pradeep, the Tamil Nadu weatherman’s reports which were spot on: 

On 6th August 2017, Pradeep put out a message regarding an intense 15 minutes rain. And just like his post mentioned, many parts in Chennai received rainfall for only about ten to twenty minutes that day.

Another post made by the Tamil Nadu weatherman was about the Runners of Jawadhu Ultra Run, on 6th August 2017. And it turned out to be true too.

Tamil Nadu Weather Facebook is one of the most popular weather forecast pages in India. WESH Home
Tamil Nadu Weather Facebook is one of the most popular weather forecast pages in India. WESH Home

On 4th June 2017, during India vs. Pakistan cricket match, many weatherman followers asked him for his weather forecast, and like always Tamil Nadu weatherman predicted a sunny day with really light rainfall which again came out to be true.

Also Read: Cyclone Vardah in Chennai, Government issues Red Alert

The Tamil Nadu weatherman is famous for his correct predictions which are concise and easily understandable by the common people. He has a huge social media following which is not seeing any signs of reducing. Tamil Nadu weatherman facebook page is the most famous page about weather forecasts in India today.