Saturday, July 08, 2023

News to Noise: TV news era ending, viewers shun watching news on channels in India


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

The era when people started their day, watching news on TV, has gone. 

No longer, the families sit for the prime time news in the evening. 

TV news is almost dead. The system of 'watching news on channels' by entire family or even individual, has disappeared. 

TRPs can be managed to some extent and money pumped but the truth is that media companies' heads had it coming. 

The extreme NOISE, the fake news, hatred, agenda based propaganda and communalism that was aired day in and day out, had frustrated the viewers. 

Large number of Muslims had long ago STOPPED watching the channels due to their clear agenda. But eventually, others too got fed up of the same style and focus on topics like alleged Love Jihad or Prayers in Public. 

Why would someone get his or her BP shot up, after watching the loud and uncouth anchors, the sickening language, the charges and counter charges, yelling and shouting participants in debates that appear to be staged.

1. A substantial number of people who earlier watched news and discussions, have turned away from watching news channels in India and stopped getting news from TV due to constant commotion on screen, anchors' antics, weird discussions on controversial issues, regularly. 

2. A large section of people got disgusted & habit of watching TV news suffered, as debates turned high pitched. People fight and shout, and audience have got alternatives, they are now getting news from Twitter, Inshorts etc. Cable TV has been disconnected in many homes.

3. News media was going through a long crisis even otherwise. TRPs had gone down. Still, there was no attempt to invest in new formats, documentaries, focus on lives of people, serious issues, real problems of citizens, special reports or global affairs' coverage. 

4. Fiction, exaggerations, superstitions were aired to get eyeballs and this brought down standards. Less serious work was undertaken in terms of journalism. Either its English or Hindi channels, the indifference is same.

Channels can't sustain for long as advertisements are going towards digital platforms. People have lost interest and obtaining news through TV that used to be an essential ritual and part of their daily life, is gone.

5. The creativity is limited to the fact that Headlines are based on 'tukbandi' and rousing emotions or by boisterous conversations. All these news 'tamasha' promoters have ensured that the field of journalism has changed for worse, little scope has been left and news media will just drag somehow without any impact on society. 

6. The owners sold their souls and result is that overall journalism suffers today, jobs are dwindling and revenue is drying up. People were no longer interested in self obsessed anchors' monologues or watching a panel of selected people who argue, fight and make cheap comments. 

7. Either its English or Hindi and the regional news channels, the exasperation among viewers is clear. People have not just sort of 'boycotted' but consuming news through TV that used to be an essential part of one's life, is a thing of past now.

8. The hate peddlers and hate promoters have ensured that the field of journalism has changed for worse, little scope is left for the next generation of budding journalists, and news media will just drag without serious impact on society. 

9. Probably, this was bound to happen, as softness and sanity had totally disappeared. All the channels were doing exactly the same thing. Even moderate anchors were shunted out and journalists who focused on real issues, were sidelined. The result is that now there is struggle for survival.

10. People no longer feel dependent on TV and have no patience for watching news or debates that cause stress, anxiety and tension. After all, everyone wants a bit of relief and entertainment. Who can bear the ANGRY AND SHOUTING LOUTS anymore?