Thursday, July 06, 2006

When objectivity turns into insensitivity: NDTV India

Did you see NDTV India last night? Yes, it was the story of one Sarvesh who died due to medical negligence last night in AIIMS. This was the NDTV exclusive aired for more than three hours continously and without any sensitivity towards the belated; inviting sms's at 6388 whether AIIMS doctors are responsible for this death or the health minister Ambumani Ramdoss.

It reminded me of the question which we faced in the exams of IIMC a long time ago: Is objectivity a myth? We were surely taught in the marxist realm that objectivity is certainly a myth. Everyone has his or her stand and one cannot rise from him/herself in the news making or any other trade. We wrote more than two pages describing why objectivity is a myth but achieving the goals close to objectivity is a piece of good journalism. Now, how this applies to the death coverage of Sarvesh?

The correspondent Dipti Sachdeva and the anchor Krantisambhav (impossible name!) were indulged in a personal talk on the screen and see the cruelty of the coverage, Dipti said that no one here is having sympathy towards this dead body, his elder brother doesn't have enough money to arrange for his funeral. Police has allowed to take the body back but it's been three hours since the death, body is lying in the corridors of the best medical institute of India and no one cares.

So, I send a message at 6388 as follows: Are bhai, at least you people arrange for his funeral or ask for monetary assistance from your viewers. Don't be so cruel! And lo, my message never appeared on the bottom scroll as I was expecting. Then I thought of calling Mr. Dibang at 11.45 p.m. but thought I am nowhere compared to his stature, why should he listen to my words when he took my interview last month and didn't call me next time? So I dropped the idea and contemplated on the fate of that body, the correspondent, the anchor and the channel's objective attitude.

See, it's not required to become an activist to be a good journalist. But it requires basic faith in the celebration of a life and the tragedy of a death, whether it be of Sarvesh or Ramdas or Ramesh or any common/uncommon man. Just want to cite an incident at this point. One of my friends Tripta Arya is in Sahara Samay national news channel. She is a very good reporter, not seen through the eyes of objectivity but the basic faith in the celebrations and tragedies of life. She did a story on the two girls of western U.P. who were admitted in Safdarjung hospital as some goons had thrown acid on their face. Their faces were comletely devastated. The parents had no money to continue the surgery and medical assistance. The story got repeatedly aired on the channel for the whole day, reporter asked for monetary assistance from the viewers itself. Anchor and the panel producer too were of the same thought. Till evening, she was able to collect more than Rs.50,000 for the girls. Is this not journalism? The money not only came from Delhi but from gulf countries also where the viewership of this channel is largest.

If Dipti would have done this, she also would have proved to be a good reporter. If this idea never striked in her mind, then she had no right of accusing the people who were watching the live PTC of the death of Sarvesh. Is she not included in those people who were just making their nights sensational? If she has given any assistance personally from her end, she must clarify.

This incident relates to a larger question of the social responsibility of mass media in this country where people die on roads daily due to the negligence, not only of doctors but of the whole society. Media is not just for telling what is happenning or what has happened, it is also for changing the scenario as and when required.

At last, I personally request on behalf of all the Sarvesh's in this country to the journalists to at least show some sensitivity towards these type of news coverage. Neros will always remain in this society but at least collectively try that we never get counted in the Nero's guests after our deaths. And no one will come forward for us at that time when our bodies will be lying in some lone corridor of some politicised hospital of great India. Remember that great poem of Brecht!

Abhishek Srivastava


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

you guys must be unemployed and frustrated youths, who have been fired from 3-4 media organisations...

mineguruji said...

This anonymous is a casteist fool, who loves the upper caste pro-rich media. just work kard and you will get results. Be balanced.

Anonymous said...

बिल्कुल सही बात है, इस ब्लॉग पर कुछ फ्रस्ट्रेटेड किस्म के लोगों का आना-जाना हो गया है। बेरोजगारी का फ्रस्ट्रेशन इनकी हर बात में दिखाई देता है। चूंकि इस पर आने वाले ज्यादातर कम्युनिस्ट किस्म के बेरोजगार हैं, इसलिए उन्हें खासतौर पर एनडीटीवी में नौकरी ना पा सकने का मलाल है। वरना 10-12 और न्यूज चैनल देश में हैं। साथ ही कई अखबार भी हैं, आपको याद दिला दूं कि अखबार भी मीडिया का ही हिस्सा हैं। "when objectivity turns into insenstivity" लिखने वाले अभिषेक श्रीवास्तव को पता होना चाहिए कि रिपोर्टर या एंकर किसी न्यूज चैनल का एजेंडा सेट नहीं करते। आपने दीप्ति सचदेवा और क्रांति संभव का नाम तो लिया है, लेकिन आपको ये पता नहीं कि ये दोनों जूनियर रिपोर्टर या एंकर हैं। दीप्ति सचदेव या क्रांति संभव चाहें तो सर्वेश के परिवार वालों के लिए दर्शकों के पैसे भेजने की अपील नहीं कर सकते। और आईआईएमसी में आपकी बैचमेट सहारा समय वाली लड़की ने भी पैसे देने की अपील अपनी ओर से जारी नहीं की होगी। ये सब एडिटर को तय करना होता है। आप लोग मीडिया पर बौद्धिक बहस तो करते हैं, लेकिन असलियत यही है कि आपको मीडिया के अंदरखाने के बारे में सुनी-सुनाई बातों से ज्यादा कुछ पता नहीं है। जिस वक्त में ज्यादातर चैनल सास-बहू और पति-पत्नी और वो दिखाने में बिजी हैं। एक चैनल ने किसी सर्वेश को इलाज के लिए भटकते और फिर मर जाते दिखाया। दोनों तस्वीरों को दो विंडो में दिखाया। और एक बड़ा सवाल खड़ा किया कि सर्वेश को किसने मारा.. स्वास्थ्य मंत्री ने या एम्स के डायरेक्टर ने। (यहां पर मैं याद दिला दूं कि स्वास्थ्य मंत्री दलितों और आरक्षण समर्थन की अगुवाई करते हैं और एम्स डायरेक्टर अगड़ों और आरक्षण विरोध की) इन्हीं दो विचारधाराओं ने दरअसल सर्वेश को मिलकर मारा। इन दोनों ने देश को अपने शिकंजे में कस रखा है और लाखों सर्वेश इसी तरह मारे जाते रहेंगे। एनडीटीवी या सहारा समय कब तक इन लोगों के लिए लोगों से पैसे मांगते रहेंगे। एक सर्वेश की फुटेज मिल गई, बाकी का तो पता तक नहीं चला। सर्वेश के बाद सिर्फ यही पता चल सका कि दो और मरीज मर गए। विजुअल हमेशा टेलीविजन की ताकत होता है। बाकी दो लोगों के मरने की खबर ने हमें उतना नहीं झकझोरा जितना सर्वेश की तस्वीरों ने। आप मीडिया पर बहस करने वालों को सोचना चाहिए कि एक चैनल ने कम से कम ये बहस शुरू तो की।

Abhishek Srivastava said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Abhishek Srivastava said...

I don't have the technical facility to write in HINDI so I am commenting in English only.
Firstly, let me tell you that the people associated with this blog are not unemployed, so no point of frustration. We have been through many mainstream newspapers and channels already, so it's not like we don't know the happenings of your so stated Andarkhana.
In live reporting, as in the case of the death of Sarvesh, the agenda of the media group goes undercurrent and everything becomes instantaneous. And after all, the presentation of the news and its angle depends solely upon the initiative taken by the reporter, whether he/she be junior or senior...doesn't matter.
As far as not getting job in NDTV is concerned, we strongly feel that NDTV or CNN-IBN is not isolated from the market oriented media scenario. All the channels have more or less the same TRP governed agenda, the difference lies in the initiative taken by its journalists on the spot. In case of NDTV, its the people working over there who decide what is to be run and what is to be dropped. Everytime, Prannoy Roy is not there to impose the channel's agenda on every news item. This is a matter of consensus as well as personal stand on the day to day things.
You cannot run away from the harsh realities just by imposing the word COMMUNIST on me or on anyone who writes/comments on this blog.
I request you to write your independent opinion articles on this blog so that it clarifies your priorities as a responsible journalist. Don't just waste your writing skills in giving personalised comments and staying out of the debate. It confirms your cowardice only.

Anonymous said...

अभिषेक जी, चलिए ये जानकर अच्छा लगा कि आप सब नौकरीशुदा हैं। लेकिन मेरे कुछ सवाल हैं।
- आपने मेरी उस बात का जवाब नहीं दिया कि कोई रिपोर्टर फील्ड से दर्शकों से ये अपील कैसे कर सकता है कि आप फलां मरीज के लिए पैसे भेजिए। ये तय तो कोई दफ्तर में बैठा बॉसनुमा आदमी ही करेगा। दीप्ति अग्रवाल के पास सिर्फ इतना अख्तियार है कि वो जो मर्जी वो बोले, लेकिन बाकी सबकुछ तो बाहर से तय होता है।
- आपको क्यों लगता है कि एम्स की हड़ताल से तीन मरीज मर गए की गिनती से बेहतर है कि हम किसी एक सर्वेश के विजुअल दिखाएं। जिससे लोगों में सत्ता के लिए लड़ रहे स्वास्थ्यमंत्री और डायरेक्टर के लिए गुस्सा सामने आए। आखिर टीवी के भी तो कुछ उसूल हैं। इसी रिपोर्टिंग का नतीजा था कि एम्स के डॉक्टरों ने इस बार हड़ताल जल्दी खत्म कर दी। आपको पता होगा कि आरक्षण विरोधी रैली के वक्त कोर्ट तक की दखल के बाद उन्होंने हड़ताल नहीं खत्म की थी।
और हां आपके ब्लॉग पर मैं नहीं लिखना चाहता। ये मेरी मर्जी है। मैं यहां पर विजिटर की हैसियत से आता हूं, ना कि लेखक की हैसियत से। सभी लेखों को ध्यान से पढ़ता हूं। अगर कुछ गड़बड़ लगती है जवाब लिख देता हूं। इससे ज्यादा मेरा कोई लेना-देना नहीं है। ये ब्लॉग आपका है, अगर आपको एतराज है तो मैं ये भी नहीं करूंगा। धन्यवाद।

mineguruji said...

anonymous tum paise wali bat sahi karte ho. reporter ki aukat hi kya hai.
Do kaudi ki chiz hai. Ek dhundon hazar milenge.
Yar tum sahi kehte, jab tak upar baitha bania nahi manega, reporter kuch nahi kar sakta.

Abhishek Srivastava said...

Mr. Anonymous,

Firstly, I would like to thank you to have raised the genuine question regarding the freedom of a reporter to raise help in live reporting. See, you are very right when you say that everything is governed by the people sitting in decisive positions, but you are a bit diffident when you say that the reporter has no freedom.
I think you have not yet tried to come out of the narrow borders of job, carrier or anything like that. Personally speaking, I have taken and enjoyed this liberty many a times in the last six years or more, and many of my aquaintances have the same case with them also. Although, it is dangerous at times as it can cost you. You may be sacked from the job, but you will not feel like defeated and diffident in your venture through all your life.
Securing a good job in a channel and doing all sorts of manipulation to retain it in every situation, nodding head on every order and leaving every decision on the group's agenda is not what we are here for. So, we believe in the autonomy of a journalist, how meagre it is...doesn't matter. After all, we know that channel heads are more of a manager rather being journalists, so why to leave space for them?

Your second question...I am not here concerned specifically about showing the visuals of Sarvesh or any other...neither I have written so. You must read the article carefully again. I am also against showing the visuals repeatedly as it cashes the sentiments of the people. It was just a launching point to start the debate...why to show rather just help. And when you talk about the USOOL of T.V. Media, please take some pain to clarify it. There are some questions which require answers from the people like you who are supposedly employed in TV channels...

1. What are the basic values (USOOL)of TV news reporting?
2. Are they being followed nowadays? Who follows it?
3. Who decides these values?
4. Are these values more of the managerial sort or journalistic also?
5. How come they are different from the values of print media?
6. Lastly, If you talk of values then why don't you have belief in the values and judgemental capacity of an individual reporter at work? How can you shift the value paradigm from a reporter to the channel's management? This relates to the basic question of drawing dividing lines between USOOL and AGENDA. Are they both same or different?

Last but not the least, we feel pleasure when you comment on any article but if you don't want to write articles, it's your prerogative. This doesn't mean that you stop commenting. We can never think of that. Internet is the most democratic medium of expression, so saying that "YE BLOG AAPKA HAI" has no meaning. DARASAL, YE BLOG HUM SABKA HAI. AAP KHUD KO ISSE ALAG SAMAJHTE HAIN TO BEHTAR HAI, LEKIN AKHIRKAR HAMARE SAMBANDH TO BIRADARANA HI HAIN. HUM ANT MEIN IS BAAT PAR TO SAHMAT HO HI SAKTE HAIN KI HUM PARASPAR ASAHMAT HAIN.

Waiting for my answers...