Good news is rare these days, and every glittering ounce of it should be cherished, hoarded, worshiped, and fondled like a priceless diamond.
When the entire nation was busy debating the JNU controversy, a 40 minutes long monologue by NDTV anchor and journalist Ravish Kumar was something that probably does not align with recent Indian Television history. In the thick of what the nation wants to know and what reporters want to say (or SHOUT), the 19th February PRIME TIME show was one of the most strong-minded steps that Indian journalism has seen in decades. Undeniably, he is one of the few gems left in this cluttered pebbled arena of Indian Journalism.
The show started with an important question, “If TV is seeking TRPs, is the audience too engaged for the same purpose?” Following this question, the screen started fading, which hinted at the dark times we are in. The faded screen also ensured that the audience actually listens to the news rather than getting swayed away by the pictures. All we saw was a black background with words of impactful, noble ideals and a breathtaking narration.
He firmly stated, “TV has become sick, instead of facts, viewers are being subjected to opinions of anchors and commentators have become arbiters of right and wrong.” This down to Earth man didn’t claim that he is the doctor of this illness. He tried to convey that he was sick and tired because TV is doing more harm than good to people today.
He reiterated the role of media- to ASK the terribly nagging questions to them who owe the country an answer. He focused on how our media has descended into a deadly game of public opinion instead of a HEALTHY debate (aimed to pin accountability) while pointing fingers at each other.
He urged people to pause, remove their political glasses and think about the JNU case. Talking about the doctored videos of the case, he brought to light the low-income family of Kanhaiya Kumar and how he became a domestic enemy. Audio clips of protests and slogans were also played. Further, he related this inciting news from JNU to the decade ago Journalism when journalists were asked not to report any news or statement which could lead to conflicts and how this has become a night after night voyage during the bogus bursts.
Next, there is a barrage of screams from different guests and anchors, prominent being Arnab Goswami, Deepak Chaurasia, Ravish Kumar himself, and many more who are converting their news programs into circuses. In his 40-minute bone of contention opposition to Indian TV, he bemoaned how debates started as a vehicle to let out viewpoints deteriorating and how vehemently TV news is opinionated. He tried his best to differentiate the thin line between giving people different perspectives and enforcing a particular perspective on the audience.
He humbly touched upon various issues like BJP-PDP hypocrisy over Afzal Guru, political exploitation of the sacrifices of soldiers, ill-treating soldiers who fought in a war for our safety(Jantar Mantar incident), Patiala court incident (clash between media reporters and lawyers).
Many sensitive topics were broadcasted in a well-modulated but appealing voice which is a rare scene today. Towards the end, there is an audio clip of Late Shri Nehru’s “Tryst with Destiny” and a poem about hope in India.
The show beat the drum for the bloodthirsty, apathetic levels our society has hunched to. A society that has bent below imagination to prove that it’s right no matter how wrong it is.
He surpasses every thought, leaves no stone unturned while giving the center stage to the “Hypocrisy of popular media.” The show vividly leaves an unanswered question behind, “What is this covetous aridity of tagging someone as a traitor, patriot, national or anti-national? These are questions that we must all answer for ourselves.