Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Media Murders Manoj: A Reality Check Of The Reality Shows

Yesterday, i.e. on 15th of August, when the whole country was celebrating 60th Independence day in the clouds of security breach and terrorist attacks, one person died just due to the insensitivity of TV media. It was not only insensitivity, rather some visually hungry people compelled Manoj Mishra of Gaya to commit suicide by lending him the towel soaked in the diesel.

The basic story we are aquainted with through today's newspapers and channel coverage is just a tip of the iceberg. The inside story is more horrible and speaks itself the cruelty of the reality shows which have now become a staunch reality of the immatured Indian TV Media. Manoj had given a threat to commit suicide on 15th of August in front of a dairy of which he was a transport contractor.He never thought that this melodrama just for the sake of getting paid Rs. 2 Lakhs from the dairy which was due on it would result in his unwanted untimely death.

The first attempt of suicide went in vain...Manoj failed as he was shivering from fear of death...a reporter and a cameraman commented on this...Diesel Nakli baa kaa...(Is the diesel adulterated?)...(This is the the part of the unedited visual which was sent to the Channel's office in Noida.) After that, Manoj was sure that no one will be coming to his rescue, but on the contrary media wanted that he commits suicide to make a great contradictory news on the eve of Independence Day. Then the reporter asked cameraman to take the shots...Shot le... as manoj tried for the second time. And the story was now complete.

Although the name of the channel has not been made public...the name of the reporter and cameraman is being kept confidential by the police inspite of having lodged an FIR against is in the the interest of the public domain to make this information available. It was Sahara TV and the reporter was some Mrityunjay...

Star News criticised this action of the reporter and cameraman. A Question must be asked at this point to the media groups which are criticising this whole episode...Are you not the partners in crime? Who is responsible for making the love story of Matuknath and Julie a hype in the public? And to tell you more, this most popular reality show coverage in the last few months resulted in the suspension of the Sahara TV's Patna reporter just because he was late in giving the news and Star breaked this news. This was the same pressure which compelled the reporter and cameraman of Gaya to provoke Manoj to put himself on pire.

So who is responsible for this death? A channel? Media's recruitment policy? Breaking News Mania? Reality Show pressure? sellability of visuals? And who has the moral ground for criticising this whole event when we are also consciously or unconsciously a part of the breaking news syndrome?

We know better that people's memory is short lived and they forget a crime as soon as another crime is commited. At this point, it reminds me of the sentence which Ifthikhar Gilani of Kashmir Times spoke at the release of his book "My days in prison" a few days back in the India Habitat Centre..."We write so casually without thinking, but people rely on the written word as if it is the God's verdict...".

Both the things are true...people believe in the media's words, visuals...but they forget also. Do we think that just due to this forgetfulness, we can do anything we want in the name of showing truth? This is not a new question, but must be again addressed in the wake of Manoj's death. Let's ponder for a while....

Abhishek Srivastava

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