This story is something which makes every one think about how the media in the present day has become a threat to the Nation. Its not about politics, not about politician but how media used the sentiment and emotions of common people to earn money.
It was in the year 2008, it was polio drops day and one of my friend in Bangalore had taken their baby to get polio drops administered. There were thousands of people from all over Bangalore who had arrived to get their kids polio drops administered. They came home and everything was fine until evening.
A TV channel which is very popular in Karnataka made a breaking news in the evening claiming that there was some problem in the polio drops administered today and there were reports of kids dying in some places in Bangalore. This news came as a shock to the entire city and all the parents who got polio drops to their kids were panicked. People started rushing towards every hospital in Bangalore. The news channel kept repeating the news saying that the kids were under threat and the polio drops was not real and more people started believing it.
My friend’s family was also under deep stress and did not know how to react. But they decided to wait and not to react in haste since their kid did not show any discomfort. But the kid coughed once in a while. At around 11.30 PM, the neighbor calls and says that their kid was coughing a lot since evening, which made my friend also worry since they had noticed their kid coughing too. Without wasting time, they immediately took her to the nearest Saint-Johns Hospital. When they arrived at the hospital, there were already hundreds of people who had thronged the hospital with their kids. My friend was waiting in the hospital for long time and after a while the hospital started refusing to admit any kids which made the parents loose their temper and many started throwing stones at the Hospital. The angry parents did not think that their were other kids also present.
My friend realized that the situation will turn violent and they immediately took their kid to Manipal Hospital for treatment. The medical reports suggested that there was absolutely no problem and the kid was fine. After all tensions my friend family returned home and they spent the entire night in tension. The very next day, the same news channel which announced that kids were dying due to polio vaccine, announces that the entire news was false and it was a rumor which spread because some kid had died in a place called Hosur due to illness. But the news channel did not issue one apology nor did they regret for what happened.
Another incident was during the Nityananda Swamiji controversy. Nityananda Swamiji was caught few years back in a sex scandal and the entire state had gone against him for misusing girls and women in his ashram. The TV channels had all gagged up against Nityananada Swamiji and made programs, debates, fights day and night to gain TRP. All Swamijis who spoke against Nityananda were in great demand. One channel introduced a Swamiji called Rishi Kumar who was not known to anyone in Karnataka. He arrived on a news channel and projected himself as a saint and a meritorious person. He became a star overnight and started appearing on all news channel just to give advice to other Swamijis. His language and behavior was bad, many people suspected that he was not dignified man. Many people raised complaints, but the news channels kept projecting him as God and he started making huge money with the sudden popularity.
Just after few days, another Kannada channel made a big program on Rishi Kumar showing his background with video proof which revealed that Rishi Kumar was not even a Swamiji, but was an armature actor who was trying to get job everywhere. The channel also revealed many videos and indecent pictures of Rishi Kumar with girls which shocked people who thought he was genuine.
The old channel which projected Rishi Kumar as a hero lost face and to avoid further embarrassment, they started speaking against their own panelist Rishi Kumar, a fake swamiji they created for TRP. The TV channel pretended to be doing a favour to the people by revealing his secrets. They forgot it was them who created him and used him to gain money.
These are just two incidents as to how the media is fooling the people of the country. They have no responsibility, ethics and do not care about people. All they need is money in the name of news. Why has the percentage of crimes in all cities increased greatly in recent years?? One of the main reason is because these so called News channels glorify them in a program specially meant for criminals called “Crime Diary”. If we remember the Bangalore molestation incident on the eve of New Year when a girl was stopped by bikers and molested on streets, this was not a random incident but a pre-planned attempt by her relative to prove that he loved her and wanted to marry her. He knew if he molests her on streets it will surely be on news and crime story and the girls parents will know that he wanted to marry her.
So, if this is what the news channels are being used for, then one can imagine to what extent the main stream media has degraded itself to!
On the other hand, many foreign news channels unlike Indian channels do not behave irresponsibly. There was an incident where a news paper had apologized for an article which was published with wrong information 100 years back. The news paper did not issue apology in the last page corner, but put the apology letter in the headline of the front page when they realized their mistake. The Sun Newspaper also had apologized for a mistake 25 years after the original article was published, when they realized the information was false. This is called JOURNALISM! Something which all Indian news channels should learn!
But our Indian media has no respect, no values for others life. They just want to earn money showing cheap, fake stories and misguide people. The news channel which telecasted fake news about polio drops did not even regret for what happened that day. Thousands of parents and kids were lined up front of hospitals. People were throwing stone at the hospitals, did the news channels even care that many kids were hurt by stone hurling that night? Did they even understand the pain and anxiety of thousands of parents??
The courts should have intervened and demanded the shut down of the news channel for the extent of panic they created.