02 September 2015

where is india's alternative media?

i almost never watch news on indian tv. if you have ever seen it, you will understand how disturbing it is, how unlike ‘news’, it really is. i grew up watching the local hk news with my dad, which was so staid and serious in comparison. once i went to university, i read the news online, all international broadsheets: the iht, the guardian, and then slowly news websites like the bbc. as part of my journalism classes, i had to study tabloids like the sun, so i understood sensationalism and triviality and page 3 news. it is unfortunate that this is all that the indian news channels and papers are capable of.

i wonder what they teach journalism students here; distinctions between fact and rumour, between allegations and convictions, between innocence and guilt? do journalists even need any qualifications here? from what i can see of news anchors, they would be more suited in the theater/film world. the recent sheena bora murder has made a total circus of the media. i have read several opinion pieces disgusted with the way indian media has handled itself. and that too, at a time when there were other worthier stories at hand: the gujarat violence and reservations debate, the financial markets situation. prior to this, the yakub memon hanging was what occupied the indian media in a similar frenzy.

the average indian gleans his news from these news channels and papers. few indians will look at international news sources, and hence have no bar for comparison. india needs more alternative news outlets. magazines and newspapers that report news, not sensation. i don’t buy the cliche that ‘this is what people want’. the people don’t know anything else. if there was a choice, they would choose the better option.

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