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April 05, 2018

April 05, 2018 @ 06:03 PM

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Trivial Issues gain more mileage in TV debates

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Arguably, the most distinctive feature of the 21st century has been the proliferation of round-the- clock news channels, bringing news from across the world into our living rooms. Media, an important pillar of democracy, which connects the people with the government and holds the government accountable for its actions has also become an intrusive and powerful force in today’s times. 

24x7 industry

Parallel to the penetration of television sets in the country has been the emergence of 24 hours news channels, keeping the public abreast with important things happening in various parts of the country and across the world. The dramatic effect of events such as the attack on the World Trade Centre, USA or on the Indian Parliament, which was brought to TV sets by news channels changed the way people thought about news. Every information is now just a news channel away. This has also created an entire industry that thrives on news, and follows the belief that if there is anything worth knowing, it is worth showing. 

Feed the monster

The 24x7 industry has become a powerful monster which has to be fed continuously to keep churning out the news. Instead of being a medium for dissemination of information and investigations, news channels have become a platform to manufacture opinions. TV channels need news to fill their shows with and due to this the lines between what can be termed as news and what can’t has blurred. TV anchors shouting vociferously along with experts, whose voices are drowned in the cacophony, have become a regular feature of news shows. In this madness, the focus shifts from serious journalism which affects the nation to things that raise the TRPs and bring in the moolah. 

Serious V/s Trivial

In the name of news, non-serious, trivial issues are becoming topics of discussion on TV channels. Each show that runs on television has a minimum half an hour slot and to make up the time, the channels resort to showing trivial things which have no significance for the people of the city or the country. Celebrity dating, black magic, people with unusual talents have suddenly become matters of national significance and are getting a lot of time on air. This is because it is not possible to keep showing the same news again and again. 

Also, in the absence of credible news throughout the day, the news channels pick up a news item and begin discussing it from various angles through the panel of experts that they hire for such shows. Since the panel is hired to talk and there is nothing concrete to talk about, as everything has been said to death, the debates frequently slip into irrelevance and triviality. 

News important only till the next news

The culture of breaking news has greatly compromised the quality of news items. Today, a particular news is important only till the next bit of news breaks in the country. And if there is no news to show, then re-runs of the same news item or things which the people have no desire to know are packaged in a dramatic way to make it interesting. This entire culture hurts the sacredness of the media industry, which has an important role to play in a democracy.

All about TRPs

The focus today is on packaging and marketing the product, not on the quality of the product itself. TV debates have become hollow and noisy, more often discussing trivial things rather than something which concerns the nation, and are directed towards garnering more TRPs. In this war of TRPs, everything is a commodity to be thrust upon the viewers. 

To keep the TV debates alive, channels need issues to throw at them for discussion and argument. Only then can the channel keep running for 24x7 nonstop. And to do that trivial issues also become issues of national importance.
 

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