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When ‘trending’ deaths matter more

While media claims to be the fourth pillar of democracy in India, recent trends in catering news indicates a paradigm shift in the basic principles of the news organisations.

With the increasing prominence of new media, print media is slowly limping towards an untimely death. Taking undue advantage of the situation, news channels are vying with each other in sensationalizing news.

And, in a bid to stay ahead of the pack, news channels overhype one story suddenly and eclipse another one. In this process the actual objective of the media is forgotten.

Salman Khan hit-and-run case verdict vs TMC leaders Mamata and Mukul dining together

Media in West Bengal went berserk with news channels flashing news of estranged stalwarts of the Trinamool Congress dining together. Following the Sharada fiasco and the CBI crackdown, Mukul Roy parted ways with his ‘Didi’ (Mamata Banerjee).

The news that could have set the tone for the assembly polls was eclipsed by the verdict on the hit and run case involving Bollywood superstar Salman Khan.

The Bombay High Court acquitted the Bollywood Star from all criminal charges in alleged hit-and-run case. The verdict swept the attention towards Bollywood with news channels holding panel discussions on the functioning of the Indian judiciary.

Chennai floods vs Paris attack

The ISIS attack on Paris was a man-made disaster while the Chennai flood was not. The attack was undeniably condemnable, but it were the strategies of some global powerful men that led to the massacre. But the calamity that struck Chennai and other neighboring regions had no human motive behind it.

But Indian media highlighted the Paris attack and the Chennai people were left deprived. While the death of over 125 people in the attack made the headline, the death of over 150 persons in the flood was not worthy enough to make it to the top stories.

Since ‘Paris attack’ news was ‘trending’, the news channels pounced on it to have the edge over their competitors.

Some might call the Paris victims as ‘martyrs’ but media had no name for those who ‘gave their lives in the flood’.

CBI raid on Kejriwal office vs Shakur Basti demolition

In a bid to get political mileage, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal pounced upon the opportunity and belittled the BJP-led government. He went to the extent to call the Railways officials as ‘animals’. As a result, Kejriwal with all his tantrums was all over the media.

However, the media was once again at its canny best when the very next day it aired that Kejriwal’s office was raided by the CBI.

The Shakur Basti vanished from the scene.

It is the media that has the power to make people laugh, cry, think and build consensus. And it does. But does it serve the noble cause of being the fourth pillar of democracy? Or media has become a corporate entity filling up the coffers of the owners.

“The nation wants to know?”

Arka Mondal
A former open source intelligence analyst with the Indian government, Arka tries to get deeper into every news and bring out the real story. Though a fun loving person, professionalism is his only mantra for success.

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