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Urgent need to regulate India's sensation-mongering TV channels

With  the number of private TV channels in India  increasing in various languages and most of them controlled and managed by business houses, there is now bitter competition between them to increase viewership and get advertisements.

Jun 30, 2017
By N S Venkataraman
 
With  the number of private TV channels in India  increasing in various languages and most of them controlled and managed by business houses, there is now bitter competition between them to increase viewership and get advertisements.
 
As a result, views are being publicized as news and very impolite and vituperative language are being used by the anchors , who seem to think that only such methods and sensation will get them popularity amongst the viewers. Most of the anchors have no expertise or domain knowledge in many fields except in muddy politics and it is sad to see them questioning even people with enormous experience in specialised fields like nuclear programmes, hydro carbon projects etc.
 
In the process, many TV channels are doing enormous damage by whipping up passion, providing misleading information and  promoting animosity between various sections of the society.
 
Isolated incidents of rape and individual violence in one corner or the other in a country of 130 crore people are being projected as national and  headlines news.  A few students agitating in colleges and universities are being shown as if the entire student community is agitating whereas the fact is more than  90% of the students are not involved in any agitational activities and are only interested in academic pursuits.
 
The more one is controversial and capable of expressing extremist  views, the better are his or her chances of being invited  by the TV media to participate in the programmes. 
 
Several information are being exaggerated and they are mixed with falsehood. For example, on 21 June,2017, one English TV media said that there is anti Hindi agitation picking up in Karnataka. The fact is that  a few people have made some anti Hindi observations which do not represent the view of  cross section of people in Karnataka 
 
In the case of Gorkhaland agitation in West Bengal, repeatedly scenes are shown as if the entire Darjeeling and surrounding areas are burning. Similar scenes are also being shown in Kashmir. The sober elements are not invited to express their views and only the agitators and violence-prone elements are given space. 
 
There are thousands of scholars in India in various fields and they are conspicuous by absence in Indian TV media.
 
As the damage  now being done by TV media to the fibre and fabric of India is reaching alarming proportions and are becoming disruptive, it is very necessary that Government of India should constitute a censor board for TV media. This is a matter of extreme importance.
 
(N S Venkataraman is with Nandini Voice for The Deprived. He can be contacted at nsvenkatchennai@gmail.com)

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