Aayenah Pahuja, 24-year-old a Doordarshan anchor faced obnoxious criticism by social media after her slipup video was leaked. I wonder how these videos get leaked from the news channels’ offices. There are many such examples like Punya Prasson Bajpai’s interview with Arvind Kejriwal, krantikari video of Rajdeep Sardesai’s encounter with NRIs. Who leaks these videos? Let’s leave that debate and get back to what happened with Pahuja. Pahuja made a few mistakes while anchoring the opening ceremony of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) live from Goa on November 20. She referred to state governor Mridula Sinha as the governor of India and failed to identify a Chinese actress. The video went viral drawing a series of uncharitable comments. She was recalled from covering the closing ceremony and has lost future contracts as well. Later on, she came up with an explanation, which was even more awkward. I agree that there might be some technical problems at the event but an anchor or a journalist should have ‘presence of mind’ and enough maturity to host the event. She can give some excuse and leave the stage by giving an impression that anchors and journalists are actors and they perform only when they are provided with good prompters. For her immaturity, she can’t taint the event blaming a technical hitch. She should have well researched about the dignitaries coming there. If she is anchoring the event, she should be prepared for it in advance. She was absolutely naïve and hilarious.
Aayenah Pahuja should not cry out for such a shame. She did blunders and was criticised by the social media. Her ear equipment had failed before she went live, she should have replaced that. She was nervous, not spontaneous nor alert. Her body language was like some Bhojpuri film actress, her dress was suitable. However, she should have instructed her producer to convey the names of the dignitaries she could not recognise. The event was a real disgrace. She should have geared up in advance. There is always an event flow chart and guidelines; she could have picked them up. There was enough time for her to set all, because at such events, no one comes without invitation. Guest’s list is always given in advance. Internet is such a vast medium to gather information and identify famous people. Basically, she failed to study and prepare herself. She thought anchoring was an easy job by just performing according to instructions and written script.
Instead of taking criticism for bettering her skill, she and her family members approached the cybercrime department to remove the video. The Indian media desperately needs a fresh perspective, more introspective thinking and a drastic change in their working to become truly professional. Journalism with presence of mind is the need of the hour. Public approval of broad strategies to meet the goals is gained through objective media reports and matured practices of journalism. Intellectually, the journalists and writers of this country are often witty, brilliant, speak good English, and can write well. Even, many of the journalists have become household names in the English literary world and have brought a good name to the fraternity and country. There are many decent journalists, anchors who are capable of reporting truth with utmost knowledge of any subject. Many anchors live an ordinary life, they have influenced youth and have brought good name to their profession.
I am not trying to be a moral police or a master here, but still, mistake is a mistake whether small or big. However, when one accepts his/her mistake then we should forgive the offender and give him/her another chance. That is what should be done to this anchor. Everyone makes a mistake but not repeating that mistake is greatness. I would blame the producers of such shows for having poor control over the content and its delivery. The nervous woman had remembered how a previous DD announcer was sacked for mispronouncing the name of Chinese premier Xi Jinping so she chose to remain silent on TV rather than repeat a similar mistake.
DD should be criticised instead of anchor, for putting her in that awkward space. If they had made a proper arrangement, had given her professional training, briefed her about the event then this would not have happened. Yet, the casual manner in which she has covered the news is also laughable. She says “ab hum Goa mein bahut sare maze kar rahe hain” (Ha, ha!). She asks someone who is obviously associated with films whether he likes watching movies (how stupid is that?). She asks everyone, how’re you doing? It is the most laughable opening line for an anchor. She asks Prahlad Kakkar how has his experience been in Goa (a man who’s been in the media industry for 40 years and she obviously doesn’t know who he is). She says “if I can get to know, anyone can get to know” – she’s actually putting herself down on the screen!