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Friday, May 21, 2010

Hot seat-cold media

My seat proved to be too hot on the 15th of May 2010, when 2 people died and 8 got injured in the commotion at the New Delhi Railway station. The incident emerged as the national story for the day and the day after. The headlines were sensational as the entire blame for the incident was passed on by the media on the railways, even though the truth was otherwise. The incident, as was evident from the litter at the site and also the version of the bystanders at the platform, was triggered by a commotion on the staircase, possibly due to someone or his luggage falling over. But it caused a commotion in the large crowd and a bit of a stampede resulting in the deaths and injuries. The change of platform issue was immaterial as the "island" was the same and any sane person would appreciate the difference between switching trains on the same island and on different islands. But sanity on such occasions is a rare commodity. A lesson for me.

I somehow, against the counsel of my friends and well wishers always had a very good image of the media in general, possibly due to the outstanding support I got from a large section of them during my tense moments in crucial postings. But this experience was different. Somehow it appeared that the mandate of the media was to sensationalize triviality, and not focus on the truth. The mandate was also to bash the sarkari tantra, that is clumsy of course, but not capable enough to be faulted for everything under the sun. And perhaps the triviality and the bare truth would not be appealing to the common man who bored by his ordinary life, looks for sensationalism in the papers and the TV and also films.The common man was being served what he wanted to see, not the truth or a fair analysis and that is what hurts.

A real learning experience for me, yet I would not like to live it again.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Sir, Completely agree....New face of emerging India...Agonizing at times!!