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The impact of Television content

New Delhi, Thu, 03 Jul 2008 Deepak Kumar Mohanty

In the midst of all cut-throat-competitions, the Television channels that rule the industry on the basis of Television Rating Points (TRPs) are now under the scanner of Information and Broadcasting Ministry which is now thinking to come up with a monitoring mechanism. It is an apt step considering the fact that some news channels and shows are covering events just to catch eyeballs thereby hiking their TRP ratings.

Most of the Hindi news channels are now featuring programmes based on superstition and black magic to grab attention of audience and moreover unnecessary controversy in various reality shows is only a part of this conspiracy and hence the government with some kinds of regulation wants to discipline the channels which pursue reckless means to improve their TRPs.

The present media coverage of Noida girl Aarushi Talwar's murder and various versions of local and national news channels only present a distressed picture of the broadcast journalism. Moreover in a recent Bengali reality show, the case of the teenager Shinjini Sengupta’s illness, who after being rebuked by a judge went into severe depression and later even lost her speech and movement, was publicised in the most gruesome manner.

Such incident no doubt invokes public curiosity and to the knowledge of all, these are well planned by television producers to catch maximum viewers’ attention to generate more and more revenue through advertising as price units per ad is allotted through TRPs.

TV channels with no social responsibility and dignity for the dead are going to the extent of creating content or covering news only to earn TRPs and for economics. The best example is Aarushi Talwar's murder in which our so called 24 hrs news channels without knowing the realty behind the grave showed their interest in taking the place of investigating agency and even using the tools of character assassination. Surprisingly after over a month long probe the Central Investigating Agency (CBI) is still struggling to get the answer.

Moreover, the whole discussion drags you to the entire notion of ‘media ethics’ which is lacking due to the over-sensationalizing of things of less substance with the only target-TRP. On one hand there is this inattentive and insensitive display of TV content and on the other, the methodologies for calculating TRP which is not transparent to public though acceptable to market players. Both need to be addressed at large.

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