Thursday, December 04, 2008

Note to Barkha

[Edit: This was a comment I posted on in response to Barkha Dutt's holier-than-thou rant about the media, but it never got published. So much for censorship.]


While I do not necessarily believe in censorship of news (As you rightly mentioned in your article, it is important to prevent rumour mongering and panic), I do believe in unbiased, non-sensationalized and quality news. Unfortunately, none of the news channels met that standard in reporting the events on and after 26/11. Here is what I think was wrong and how it needs to be corrected-

There is no place for a soundtrack or yelling reporters on a news show. It does exactly what censorship of news results in -> panic. In no way should news reporting/debates/discussion degenerate into a Bollywood show.

With respect to "We the people" (Nov. 30), I do not believe people like Luke Kenny, Kunal Kohli and Simi Garewal (Simi who?) amongst others are in any way representative of what Mumbai is going through right now. You kept cutting off the only person (ex- commissioner MN Singh) on the show that was making sensible comments. If you wanted a fruitful discussion, you should've invited more people like MN Singh who have an insight into what is wrong in the system and what can be done to correct it.

Could you explain your walk through the Taj Mahal hotel describing the destruction while there were still forensic analysts collecting data? Could you clarify why you had to then be escorted out of that very place with a policeman frantically blowing on his whistle? The only thought that comes to mind is that you irresponsibly trespassed into an area you were _not_ supposed to. Why didn't you defend that incident in your article?

I still do believe that there is scope for improvement in the way the news is reported. There should be no place for bias or sensationalism in news. Only responsibility in delivering the facts.