I’m surprised to see that none of the media houses has taken ‘Tanu Sharma Suicide case’ as strongly as they had taken other sensitive cases. Why media is silent over its peer’s problems? Why fraternity is not willing to seek justice for victim anchor? The attempted suicide by Tanu Sharma of India TV news channel raises several questions on the integrity of media houses and news channels. Who will give the answers?
Sharma was subjected to regular ill-treatment at work, demeaned and mortified and asked to go ‘meet’ powerful people, with shady, possibly sexual, implications. India TV responded by saying she was over-stating what had actually happened. Only an investigation will show the truth. Rajat Sharma has become aggressive, issuing notices to news portals which have published about Tanu Sharma suicide attempt case, but had not came forward to answer the allegations made by her. Media firms behave like this not only for revenue from big business houses and politicians, but the media has become the part of the present corporate system. The corporate media will try to justify and protect the new order of exploitation. If you observe the pattern of presentation of Hindi news channels, you would think that there is some sort of mitosis at play; one super anchor has duplicated into many identical anchors. Electronic media are giving less news and more glamorous faces. These faces become tool for marketing. Once these anchors get addicted to makeup, camera and glamour of show business then they compromise to sustain on screen, which leads them to disaster.
To stay on screen they have to maintain their beauty and this is really a challenge for them, year after year. Their utility to channel is nothing but their glamour and shining skin. New faces make entries which makes it difficult for elders to sustain there. With such hierarchy, it is real task for a female reporter and anchors in news channels to face this kind of situation. Many times, they look the same, sound the same, and shout at the same decibel level. The Hindi channel newsroom is one big factory where everyone has to pass the conformity test of group cohesion. Any attempt to break away from that norm is to stare at an interpersonal abyss. News has lost its purpose (both Hindi & English). Anchors and guests with few exceptions are having political affiliations and if they think public don’t understand their affiliations then they are mistaken. Many people have stopped watching news as it’s not intellectually stimulating. It is not difficult to understand that majority of reporters and news anchors lack the kind of erudition required when reporting news to the general public. They produce a narrative as per the whims of their overlords without sifting through facts.
This crumble in journalism has worsened and in its own way facilitated by a society that is growing more and more entrepreneurial day by day. The faculty of discerning between sense and breathtaking seems to be thrown to the wind. The best thing a common man can do to abate this decay is to shut down the idiot box when he sees such gimmicks being played. On a positive note; the audiences are fairly well- aware of this phenomenon and therefore market for unbiased media exists. Until someone with the vision and deep pockets steps forward to fill that void, the social media will serve as the truth filter. Media has been the most important element to the impetus of change. It has helped India break the shackles of British rule. Corruption of such a pious organisation has lead to a sense of paranoia and mistrust. It was obvious that there was a neck to neck competition among these news channels. The competition has taken a downhill road. The news shown depends on the TRPs, rather than the duty to project the truth. The truth presented is twisted to such an extent that it benefits the channel and creates a sense of insecurity among the mass. What we are being presented with are views (mostly one sided) may be of the editor or the promoter. The viewer does not really get an opportunity to think and form an opinion about the events around us.
Media irrespective of print or television are corrupt. Media houses believe that they can decide the fate of the country in a way they want and can grossly underestimate the people of this great country. The media therefore should introspect and correct itself for a meaningful and worthwhile role in this country. In India, powerful corporations are becoming major influences on mainstream media. Major business groups own media stations and outlets thus crippling press freedom. It is dangerous to allow politicians and business houses join hands with a purpose and influence public opinion. The fallout of this is a reduction in diversity, depth of content, fair and free flow of information, while it increases the political and economic power of corporations. In a functioning democracy, an informed population is a crucial element. The role of media in the recent Lok Sabha election should in fact teach a big lesson. There are indications that an anchor from one such channel fell into this abyss recently and almost drowned in it. Facing harassment from her superiors, Tanu Sharma of India TV tried to end her life. In her own words, she got tired of “being brave.” Her story has been picked up by editors and other TV professionals, most of whom are no longer with the medium. But from within, there has been no shamefacedness so far. It is very likely that Ms Sharma will be dubbed as the one who could not withstand the pressures of “live television.” Her channel will go on with its business as if nothing happened.
Social media is protesting against India TV and Rajat Sharma but not that aggressively as they did it at the time of Nirbhaya or Jessica Lal. Is it Tanu’s mistake that she is alive or we have become insensitive for living one? This time, we should act and create ripples on abuser media owners seeking justice for Tanu Sharma.