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High time for TV & News channels to introspect

GUEST ARTICLE  By Mr. Phanindra Panishankar Rao

Before Covid 19 Pandemic, each one of us had our own Ambition, dreams, problems, like somebody was fighting to become a Rich & some was fighting to feed their stomach. But after Covid 19 Pandemic, the first priority is to fight against this Pandemic. Irrespective of their ambition, problems, the entire nation is fighting against pandemics including celebrities, corporate companies, all kinds of professional groups, especially Doctors, and even political parties amidst their politics. Many of them learned from their mistakes and changed accordingly.

Similarly, if you travel back for some years and observe, The News readers have also changed themselves to visual media from Radio broadcasting. Later when public channels became popular the newsreaders changed their body language, accent to attract the audience and keep the good TRP. When they became popular with their news reading style, mannerism, the same person started anchoring the shows and slowly became an Analyst. He/She also started criticizing the governance and execution & became popular and it was accepted by the public, perhaps because of many reasons. Commenting and criticizing became popular. This is extended to the extent that the same Person started managing & controlling the system of governance & bureaucrats with his criticism/comments. After this, News channels never changed their attitude even when there is so much change happening in social life, Technology, etc. Unfortunate is that this continued even during Pandemic time which is unknown & uncertain to everyone.

It is very disturbing when we watch news channels that show only the Covid news, deaths, or its impact on the public. They could have shown some other good news as well. Most of the time they criticize the public servants and Govt. to the extent that you stop believing in your public servants and Govt. who are really working hard in serving society. Sometimes it looks like a competition between the channels, the anchor of channel1, criticize with his own mannerism & accent, the anchor of Channel 2, overtakes the other differently.

During the lockdown/semi lockdown period, if the police control the public by using some strict control rules, the TV news criticizes them. The same Channels will say police failed to control the public if the police give some tolerance to the public. Since they do not own anything, they assume their job is to criticize, leave out all the good words, work done by the person and focus only upon negative words used by the person during his/her speech. Neither they acknowledge the achievements nor telecast the service rendered, instead only criticize them. We can observe this kind of incident recently when one of the ministers brought transparency, digitalization, and smooth functioning, and easy process in bed allocation for the Covid patients.

Recently in one of the local channels, the anchor was pointing out what Govt. is doing is wrong, they are begging from neighbors, even from small countries. Further Anchor was comparing our country with some other country in a very bad manner. In another channel, the anchor was demanding and forcing a Govt. spokesperson to withdraw the decision & policy, despite the spokesperson assuring him that the new policy will be more beneficial to the poor section. Like this, we can see many more such incidents in news channels.

They assume that their job is to attack & criticize the ruling govt. News channels use the person as a scapegoat to attack/criticize the ruling Govt., even forget that once the same person was criticized by them & he was abusing these channels.

It is high time for TV News channels to introspect on:

Newsreader– The person who reads the news can have good language, communication and read fluently. But unfortunately, the News Readers start commenting on the news they read and criticize the person.

Analyst – The person, who analyzes the policies of the Govt., should have at least specialization in that particular area and has some work experience as a reporter (fieldwork) and work experience. Like if somebody analyzes governance & its execution must have solid expertise in planning, strategy, and operations along with other credentials or work experience in that area.
The recent news related to the covid vaccination giving to the public, the audience expects/thinks that the anchor or one who writes the analysis should have experience in life science & manufacturing of medicines. Because one should understand the time taken to set up the manufacturing plant, procurement process and manufacturing lead time, and logistics to deliver the vaccine to the destination Also know about the demand and supply meet. Let them keep these data and check the demand (country population) and plant’s capacity to produce the vaccine. Very importantly, one should know that there should be an order placement from the customer(states) to produce the vaccine in more numbers or to increase the production qty from the original production qty. Somebody who speaks in front of the media cannot be considered as an order for them to produce. Interestingly when somebody claims they need so much vaccine, they should also be prepared their vaccine Centers with manpower and inform the public to take the Vaccine with social distancing. After having all these data, let them compare and criticize, point out the mistakes where Govt. failed. When the Media comment/criticizing so much on Vaccine shortages, we can also expect their contribution to help the citizens in giving awareness to the public to get the Vaccine. Has any media done anything to bring the public to the vaccination centers when it was surplus during wave one? They would have telecasted the news to inform the public to go and get the vaccine as it is good and help them to come out of pandemics. Instead, they shifted to some other breaking news. Even now, the News shows the only shortage of vaccines as a weapon to blame someone instead of considering the above points with correct data & inform the public the reality and ask them to maintain lockdown process, social distancing, and wait till they get sufficient vaccine. Most importantly expect them to own what they say or should not criticize.
Importantly in the Medical field, one should also know that each vaccination bottle has an expiry date and it should be given to a minimum of ten people once it is opened for use otherwise it loses its power. Mean to say that, the moment it is produced, it should be delivered to the destination and consume full before it expires. We are lucky that our medicine does not require a specific Refrigerator to maintain a temperature to preserve the vaccine power like other vaccines, which are produced by other countries. With this, we are not only saving money but also not worrying about the production of these refrigerators to preserve the vaccination. By this, we can ignore the refrigerator plant & the rest.

Anchors – Observed some Anchors in Media bring some expertise from the respective field & ask them to answer their questions. Ironically, they will not stop after the debate, further go ahead and give their conclusion/opinion. When Anchors expect others to have a solid answer or solid work and criticize their work, there is nothing wrong in expecting an Anchor to have solid expertise, knowledge about the topic they debate and understand what the guest Expertise said in the program. It should not become like an Arts student sit in a science class and give his/her remarks about the science subject and the lecturer. It should be like when Mathematic teacher, teach math’s and conduct exam, they have the right to correct the answer paper and give marks/opinion and comment about the student and answer written by the student.

Having said this, to work in any one of these areas like legislative, executive, or judiciary one should have a good qualification, knowledge, and mindset to work in any one of these areas. When a single person sits in a room and comments on all these functionaries, there is nothing wrong in expecting them to have the right qualification, knowledge, and maturity in analyzing and commenting on these functionaries.
The audience is not asking news channels to stop criticize, comment on anyone, policy, or subjects, instead expects them to research and come up with the right data and share it with a skilled anchors/analyst.

Already some viewers have got shifted themselves to social media by criticizing these news channels. If News Channels does not introspect and correct their mistakes, there is a possibility that almost all the viewers would shift to social Media permanently.

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