The Wink That Wasn’t

Jayanta Madhav

Respect and trust are the two easiest things for someone to lose and the hardest to get back ; so goes  the adage .

And only the respected know the time and effort it takes to build this for oneself ; and the pain it afflicts when the same shatters like a pack of cards.

Nothing else buttresses this truth better than the recently reported episode on singer Papon and the way the famed singer was pilloried by a section of the electronic media – apropos of the shooting of a reality show. Culpability or otherwise of the singer or the veracity of the insinuations against him apart – that being for the law of the land to decide, what really pains is the way this section of the media whittled down the admiration he had accreted for himself over years of insistent hard work . It is only obvious that the relentless efforts through Breaking News reporting , to disgrace the artist as an odious villain  must have taken a heavy toll on his image , especially among the youth who has struck a chord with his uncanny prowess to compose and warble out popular numbers. Closer home, his contribution in elevating Assamese music and folk lore to the national arena merits no elaboration.

Despite his proffering an unconditional apology through the social media , the way some national TV channels displayed a total lack of sensitivity through their acts of one-upmanship at character assassination was shocking and disgusting . Little did these channels realize that in their zest and inexorable attempts at vilification through repeated beaming of his pictures along with   a volley of disparaging adjectives, professional integrity of the artiste was compromised and his personal space flagrantly  trashed . One can also imagine the trauma the singer’s family especially his kids must have been subjected to as a result of the media trial with rank disregard to his side of the story. True, with time the family will get the better of their angst , but it will be hard to recoup the family’s lost honour for quite some time to come.

In today’s world of the exponentially growing media industry, the way a section of the electronic media sensationalize their stories for TRP  sometimes borders on ludicrosity . There is no gainsaying that unlike newspapers, TV commands a more encompassing effect and so has the potential to leave its mark on every strata of society, pervade as it does the remotest bed-rooms of the country. It is therefore high time a sense of responsibility is instilled in the electronic media by bringing it under the ambit of a well-suited regulation, as has been done for the print media – through monitoring institutions like the Press Council of India. Otherwise coming days may witness more of such insidious intentions aimed at besmirching people and institutions of repute , possibly even at the cost of  shaking social ethos.

Another of 24×7 electronic media’s obsession is the tendency to dramatize trivial issues at the cost of other graver ones – many a time bordering on national relevance and pride . A case in point is the recent brouhaha in some renowned national TV channels on the hype created by a nondescript girls’ wink that was picked from a You Tube video grab . It is hard to digest that in a country plagued with a raft of issues on poverty and distress, hours of primetime discourse went into dissecting the girl’s wink, her look and the act of her seducing the beau . And while this fluff , backed with flittering glimpses of the  prized portrayal  got transmitted on TV across the country’s drawing rooms, the martyrdom of an army jawan at Indo- Pak border presumably went unreported.  Albeit, such indiscreet behaviour from a few TV  channels can never demoralize our soldiers nor deter future aspirants to martyrdom from joining our Forces; but the least we as a nation should do is to give due recognition to our men at border and share their families’ grief with the nation.

Sensible news reporting and meaningful public discourse are the essence of a vibrant democracy  which we as citizens indubitably deserve to crave .



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