The TV media coverage of the epic Anna Hazare fast with all its accompanying twists and turns is a defining moment for Indian media to rethink, refurbish and reposition itself, feel media experts.
“The myth perpetuated by TRPs in the audio visual medium that basic issues don’t sell has been thoroughly battered and demolished,” N Bhaskara Rao, director, Centre for Media Studies, told HT.
“Covering basic issues are more important and this is what the media has realised. It’s a great opportunity for the media to rethink and reposition itself on the content strategy and content priority in a much more meaningful way,” he added.
Rao marks out a clear differential between TV and the print medium. “TV coverage is not making people any wiser and has not been very sensitive and intelligent whereas print media has been suggesting ways forward and alternative steps that may ultimately lead to a resolution of issues.”
Says former justice AP Shah: “Media has played a big role in highlighting the common man’s woes. Till now, the target was always to garner TRPs or to focus on big-ticket corruption. But the Anna Hazare coverage, while not commenting on the good or the bad of the movement, has brought the focus back on basic issues.”
Shah heads the Broadcast Content Complaints Council, a self-regulatory body mandated to regulate TV content.
Further comparing the role of the TV and print media, he adds: “The print media has been circumspect and balanced in its coverage but the TV medium has been acting like cheerleaders and very casual in its approach. It does not seem to have realised the undesirable forces that can get unleashed.”
Agrees Santosh Desai, media commentator and CEO, Future Brands:”There is a marked difference in the way TV and print mediums are covering the Anna episode. Violation of journalistic tenets has been the norm in the TV coverage while the print medium is taking a stand ... and dissecting matters.”