The Great Indian TV Corruption

Well, here I am not talking about the corruption scandals unearthed by India’s famously intrusive and investigative TV channels – the CommonWealth Games Scandal, or the 2G Mobile Spectrum Allocation Scandal, or the Mumbai Adarsh Society Defence Land Allocation Scandal, and countless other sensational scandals which they seem to be routinely breaking open.

I am talking about the deterioration in the quality of the programs which the common population watches day in and day out ; the effect that foul TV language is having on the children ; the alienation of the educated adults who are getting put off by risqué programs which cross the limits of propriety on prime time TV broadcasts ; and, the needless aggression of famous anchors on TV whose modus operandi seems to be adopted from a Tim Sebastian !

Please do not get me wrong. The media, as the “Fourth Estate” after the Parliament, the Judiciary and the Executive, is surely needed, especially in a raucous democracy such as India, to create a much-needed check and balance on the politics of corruption. I am, in no way, denigrating their importance and their need in our civil society.

But, I do have serious reservations. The same TV channels do not investigate the corruption which clearly does exist in real estate, mafia underground, and film world. What about education and the corruption that higher educational institutes have so religiously instituted while accepting “donations” to admit less than qualified students, thereby diluting the standards of higher education in this country ? What about religious corruption ? Politics is not the only area that they should focus upon.

I also seriously contest their “copy the West” philosophy. Why can’t India have its own philosophy in investigative journalism ? And, why news channels have some programs not compatible with their status as “true beacons of democracy” in this country ? It is important to respect the people who are slandered mercilessly, unless proven otherwise.

Most of all, it is the corruption of the minds of young children and teenagers which worries me. We have some totally stupid “reality show” programs, which are supposed to actually delink reality from the fancy world of films and TV shows. Are these really “reality” shows ? Men and Women are not just dominated by sex, there are other things which they do, and 95% of time is not spent on love and sex. Children get affected because the whole family seems to be enchanted by such shows. The adults speak about these shows. The newspapers reveal a lot because there is an anticipated censorship brewing, which has been temporarily suspended by the High Court recently.

Well, well, democracy is OK, but also not OK. When the Fourth Estate could run roughshod over decency and respect for privacy, what can we do – SWITCH THE CHANNELS, or SWITCH OFF THE IDIOT BOX. Yes, that is what we do at home. TV robs a family of quality family discussion time, a time to engage in other pursuits such a game of Scrabble, or Chess. A family cannot see TV for more than an hour a day, unless it is the National Geographic Channel with some great wildlife program, etc., or a great movie classic which the entire family would love to see during the weekend.

Now, I am losing interest in the sensationalism of the Indian News Channels, as there is no depth, rather it is a superficial coverage of the facts and events, with no detailed analysis. The analysis is provided in a group discussion anchored by a rather intimidating and “intervening” kind of anchor, not one who would wait patiently to let one complete his viewpoint on a topic of national “scandalous” interest. Are anchors becoming “god men” – I mean god like people, who wield huge influence and indirectly influence matters in the public domain ? It is becoming like that in India these days.

Well, avoid the TV whenever you can.


Vijay Srinivasan
21st November 2010


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