Aamir bashes media for 'hiding news'
Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan came down heavily on media saying that the fourth estate of democracy should be the watchdog of society - not its lap dog.
"Because they want more advertisements, they are destroying what is a very important part of the society - news reporting. It is wasting important national space that should be used in a more productive manner," Aamir said in an interview to Tehelka.
This is for the first time any actor has dared to do so. He said it wasn't just the cynical decimation of the professionals or the intrusion into the deeply personal matters like his divorce and remarriage that irked him, but the misplaced emphasis on sensation that was cause for worry.
"Because they want more ads, they are destroying what is a very important part of the society, and that's news reporting. It is wasting important national space that should be used in a more productive manner," said Aamir whose recent release Rang De Basanti has turned out to be a blockbuster.
Aamir feels that as a public person he should voice his opinion because news reporting is a "matter of national concern".
"Unfortunately, media barons and top executives are too fixated on short-term dividends to square up to the larger picture," he maintained.
Talking about his current release he said that despite the expected media interaction that the film's release demanded of him, he couldn't bring himself to deal with "this kind of people... this monster that the media had become".
Aamir said he shunned the tinsel press even when he was just a beginner.
"At that time, the mainline newspapers never reported films, there were no hundred channels, only Doordarshan - so effectively you were cutting yourself off from fans if you didn't speak to film magazines. I understood that, but I chose to do what was right."
Even today, he feels the same about the press because the core principle of journalism - that of being a watchdog - is being violated.
"The media is meant to be the watchdog of society, not its lap dog! Some restraint you have to show, boss," Aamir maintained.
The actor, who finds both Hindi and English media guilty of overkill, prefers watching Doordarshan.
"At least one is spared the theatrics, deep sighs, wiping of tears and background music," said Aamir.
"Some news channel has to get up and say I am not indulging in this. It might lose viewership for the first month or so, but it will establish that it is not indulging in all of this, and I am sure people will come around."
The actor said: "This is where even channels like NDTV and CNN-IBN, who set them up to be different, have not made the mark."
He said that trivialisation or degrading of news is something he won't take and feels in something as sacrosanct as news reporting, commercial priorities must take a backseat.