Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2nd letter to Editors Guild

Am pasting here, the second mail I sent to Rajdeep and the Editors Guild. In his first reply, Rajdeep said he'd be happy to take specific complaints/suggestions. This letter is the first in a series of such complaints/suggestions. Please feel free to add any more suggestions, we can send them in the next mail :).
Thanks for the reply Rajdeep. I wish to now bring to the notice of the Editor's Guild a key issue regarding media coverage during violence in cities.

I wish to present two examples briefly, and then suggest remedial measures.

1. During the ongoing agitation on Telangana, recently there were some stone pelting incidents in Hyderabad. I was in one of the shops when the incident occured and could walk back to my home in the exact same route the miscreants took out their march within the next half hour. However, the local media hyped up these small incidents of violence to unimaginable levels, using banner headlines like "Hyderabad is tensed", "City citizens are tensed", "There is war-like atmosphere" (I am not kidding sir, Sakshi TV reporter actually used the word war-like to describe this situation). Media even ran banner saying two buses were burnt in the city. Till date, we have never seen a picture nor a video of these buses burning. The result of this hype - establishments in the entire city were shut down in 2 hours. The 48 hour bandh subsequently called also resulted in many such establishments remaining shut. Full details on my blog

2. My fellow Netizen Anand Bala in his blog
here describes how TIMES NOW channel ran scrolling headlines that entire city of Bangalore was burning (after Vishnuvardhan's death) when there was small scale violence in some parts of the city. Again, a sense of fear permeated into the minds of people, there by creating an unnecessary volatile situation

I think we have to blame the media squarely for allowing such fear factor to creep in. Instead of telecasting reality, an agenda driven media in AP and some irresponsible reporting in Bangalore has caused so much hardship for the common man.

I feel it is high time we have some regulations on the media while reporting incidents of violence.

1. Use of superlatives has to be avoided at all costs.
2. Specific areas where there are disturbances have to continously telecasted.
3. Extension of tension is pockets of the city to the entire city is totally unwarranted and should be avoided.
4. Infact, it would be great if the media went ahead and instilled confidence in people.
5. Repeated telecast of the same incident over hours is fine, but it has to be displayed prominently the time at which the video was filmed. For example, if the incident took place at 12pm, and if I swtich on the TV at 2pm, there is a split screen. Right side shows the violence. Left side shows a panel discussion and reads LIVE. I will be under the assumption that the violence is also LIVE.
6. Please let us know if framing such rules does come under the purview of Editors Guild. If yes, it would be great if you could have a discussion on this. If no, can you please let us know who in the government we should be contacting?

Happy New Year and hope we bring about the much needed change in media behaviour in this year :)



Chandu said...

I had a similar experience in December 2008. When a constable was shot in santosh nagar, media was live telecasting the crowd there hours after the incident happened....it also showed that the shops around were closed...but when we actually went there, there was not even a single soul...and everybody around was back to their business...

Chandu said...

Speaking of regulations, I think media should mind their language...in a telugu channel, i noticed that they call the accused as 'durmargudu', 'kirathakudu'..etc., while in court they call them 'muddhaayi' or 'accused'

SysErr said...

yes, media itself has become a business. however, unfortunately, democracies cannot afford to impose regulations on media. any attempt to clamp down media by govt would be viewed through "right to expression" prism. I'd be curious to know if there is any defined process to control the media overtones.

SysErr said...

forgot to mention, nice article. keep us posted on your postings. if not please relocate to china, there are ample number of media regulations there.

Anonymous said...

And, dont forget during YSR's helicopter crash. His death was confirmed around 9:20am. Even upto 10 mins before that, Gemini News kept giving the flashing news that YSR was safe, with no further details about how they arrived at that conclusion. This type of speculative journalism should constitute a crime for spreading romours.

After that incident, Gemini news went back to regular business, and I am sure never apologized for the wrong information.


Post a Comment