Sunday, April 11, 2010
Appetizing “Media Fodder”
What happens when two celebrated sportspersons, one playing for India while the other playing for Pakistan, fall in love and decide to tie the knot and be legally called husband and wife? You surely will have scores of fans and the general public congratulating the two sportspersons and wishing them a good luck charm for a happy married life. Conversely, there are sections of society and political groups who defame the couple for even thinking about marrying a person from a rival country, especially in the current scenario when tensions are brewing between India and Pakistan….eventually politicizing a simple love story between a young boy and a girl.
Now let’s add some spice to the story by introducing an unknown Muslim girl, a self-confessed size 10, who comes from nowhere and claims that she is married to the Pakistani sportsman and come storm-or-rain, she will not permit him from saying “Kabool Hain” (I Do), until he does not give her a divorce and sets her free. The entry of this “mysterious girl” makes the story juicier and something that any Bollywood Director/ Producer would vouch to follow and get inspired from. Besides beneficiaries from Bollywood, sections of Media go gaga over this spicy tale...eventually spinning out a typically 3rd page story on the front page.
This is exactly what happened, when India’s ace tennis magnet, Sania Mirza, and Pakistan’s cricket sensation, Shoaib Malik, announced their courtship. Certainly, not overlooking a very important character in this story…….the mysterious size 10 girl at the crossroads, who completes the love triangle, “Mrs. Ayesha Siddhique Malik” from Hyderabad, India.
When personal lives of public figures are washed in public
Just after the news about “Sania-Shoaib-Ayesha” - “India-Pakistan” love affair broke out, media went berserk quiet literally! Media houses, both electronic and print media went on an overdrive feeding the public with minute-by-minute updates of the Sania-Shoaib-Ayesha marriage fiasco. So much so that one television channel even panned their cameras inside Sania’s living room and balcony to get a closer peek into her personal life.
Sections of TV news channels and the press lapped up the news as if they have been malnourished for days and truly so…. Journalism which ideally is the fourth estate for educating and informing people in a fair and objective manner, about the political, social and economical status of the country and also for giving a voice to those who don't have any say, are straying away from the core ideology. Certainly, some of the news channels stand by maintaining those principles while the rest media jokers have lost it completely, drooling over news that is “spicy and juicy”….just like KFC’s yummy chicken lollipops….Umm!!
Pakistan media did not give this Sania-Shoaib-Ayesha’s private love affair an extra “inning-full” coverage as compared to Indian media who chewed over the story for weeks together…refusing to flush it down the drain. Apparently Pakistani media did not cover this story extensively because Shoaib Malik is not as big a star as Sania Mirza is in India. In fact, Pakistan would welcome the Indian bride, Sania Mirza, offering her a Pakistani passport in a platinum plate…because Pakistan does not boast a tennis pulse and undeniably Sania Mirza is the ONLY ONE who could fill the vacuum in Pakistan’s sports arena.
Paying heed to good journalism
In the same breath, also accepting the fact that “Journalism” is indeed a valuable governing fourth estate which even today plays a significant role in making the guilty carry their cross right up to Calvary and bestowing the innocent with justice through effective media trails…undeniably, an important part of any moral civilization. As Walter Lippmann defines journalism saying, “There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil - remain detached from the great.”
While some media houses follow this fair doctrine, majority of them scavenge for stories which guarantee high TRP’s (Television Rating Points), constantly looking at the negative and controversial aspect of news. Thus, eventually sensationalizing news or better still “Bollywoodisation/ Hollywoodisation” of news.
Promptly recollecting what the 36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, said while wittingly describing media, “If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: "President Can't Swim."
On that witty note, I will sign out for now...but don’t forget to keep your eyes on this blog site for my next amusing piece.
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