In the name of investigative journalism News Channels such as Sudarshan News openly spread hatred among communities airing baseless and ridiculous Reports on “UPSC Jihad”
Ground Report | New Delhi: Why News channels in India are toxic; The latest FICCI Report 2021 where non-news TV channels have seen a marginal reduction in 2020, News channels are still growing and comprise 43% of total registered channels in India. Today India has a total of 909 working TV channels out of which 388 are News channels that influence a large section of society. But the question is in spite of having a large number of news channels are we getting the quality news which really matters for us?
Today many of the News channels in our country have become a shouting box that shows every news with the tag of breaking news and gets the TRP increased by creating sensational content on their prime time shows rather than broadcasting news which actually affects people’s life. These news channels are gaining their popularity and TRP when the anchor shouts the most with toxic words and the news debate turnout into a super thrilling drama where the participants lose their dignity of language while debating with each other.
In the last some years, Indian media has witnessed a paradigm shift in the various aspects of its work. But the Covid-19 pandemic has shown a new landscape of News channels how these channels spread hatred and toxicity in our society. Starting from March 2020, when Covid cases started rising in the country, the majority of news channels blamed only Tablighi Jamaat for the surge in covid cases and started vilifying people who attended it but refrained from asking required questions to the govt.
In the name of investigative journalism News Channels such as Sudarshan News openly spread hatred among communities airing baseless and ridiculous Reports on “UPSC Jihad”. In the name of freedom of speech, many news channels blatantly invaded the privacy of people, openly defamed them, and started making judgments about them in their newsrooms even prior to the court of India. Media Coverage of Sushant Singh Rajput’s murder case is the biggest example of it.
TRP Game and sensational way of news presentation are becoming new news channels trend
In the cutthroat competition of TRP among channels, media is putting more emphasis on the story which will give them higher ratings. The debates with high voltage drama where people speak ill about someone have become successful to do so. And that’s why now other news channels have started adopting this trend.
The News Channels that are supposed to expose scams are themselves allegedly found indulged in big TRP scams. In October 2020, Mumbai police reported that Republic TV and two Marathi stations, Box Cinema and Fakt Marathi, had busted a scheme to manipulate TRP ratings and maximize advertising profits and filled an FIR against. The thing to think about is that Republic TV still has been the news channel which is having one of the highest viewership.
Sensationalisation of News:
In the game of TRP, most news channels now have adopted the sensational way of news presentation. The prime-time debate shows have become more popular than daily soap operas now. The more the anchors and panelist shouts and speaks out noxious words at the show the more the viewership channels get. And it is very easy to make any news yellow journalism in India when it has a communal angle as people of India are very sensitive on the name of religion.
Why News channels in India are toxic; The channels are using the same tactics for increasing their viewership. The explosion
Political influence on the news channels:
Media is considered as the fourth pillar of democracy but today it has become merely a tool of political parties to lay out their propaganda and form a public opinion as most of the biggest news channels are directly or indirectly influenced by a particular political party in our country. That is why now media is divided into two parts -pro-govt. and anti-govt. Political influence on the news channels is also one of the factors of increasing toxic debates because hate speeches made by a politician becomes news for these news channels and when channels start making prime time show on it just makes it more noxious.
What is the role of big brands who back these news channels?
It is hard to underestimate the importance of marketers or brands in the matrix of television broadcasting – and, by extension, news broadcasting. After all, television is predicted to account for 43 percent of total advertising spending in 2020, totaling Rs 38,081 crore – the most among all media. So the big brands could play a significant role in reducing the trend of toxic news.
After the TRP scam in October 2020, Big brands like Parle, Dollar, Amul, and Bajaj have opted not to advertise on news stations that broadcast ‘toxic and violent content. However, most of the advertisers keep their support with the news channels because it does not fall short of the figures that advertisers need. In today’s market, where every ad dollar counts like never before, advertising on news channels is a terrific fit for brands.
What is the way ahead to stop these practices in newsrooms and Why News channels in India are toxic?
A modification needs to be done in the current TRP system as it fits for the general entertainment channels but when it comes to news channels it does not as news channels are above just entertaining people. News channels are responsible for showing all the essential news which affects the people, society, environment, economy, and the country.
This can be accomplished by instituting a new rating system with two goals: to encourage responsible journalism by TV news stations and to dissuade them from engaging in unethical journalism. Moreover, people also need to be responsible while selecting news channels and support the paywalls system because nothing good can be gained free of cost.