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"Indian media: the juggernaut and all in between"
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"Indian media: the juggernaut and all in between"

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Harmanan Singh picIndia’s media is breaking new ground as it grows, but Harmanan Singh, 18, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Mumbai in India, argues that commercialism should not jeopardise journalism standards.

“India wants an answer!” bellows an effervescent, bespectacled news presenter, Arnab Goswami. For the past couple of minutes, he has dashed out an unprecedented war of words with every single guest on his show, ‘The Newshour’, which occupies the primetime slot on Indian television. The show presents verbal volleys, accusations and insults as two sides haggle in non-physical violence.

Many regard Arnab as the face of a media revolution that is fearless, seeks answers and is a force to reckon with. Others dislike his farfetched violence that accompanies his fearless, unaccommodating brand of journalism.

Arnab Goswami’s Newshour probably sums up Indian media’s dual characteristics. One that seems to progress towards greater freedom that seeks answers, and the other that is guilty of commercialising incidents and news by presenting it with a whole lot of “masala” to attract audiences.

I happened to be present at an event, listening to Goswami, who as the keynote speaker spoke about the surging power of the press. He said that media had finally ‘come of age’ and had broken the shackles to highlight areas of concern and voice crucial opinions. Journalism has been instrumental in bringing scams, corruption, potential threats and key initiatives to light in modern day India.

#IndianMediaGoBack was trending on social networks a couple of days ago. This essentially represents the overuse of the new found freedom. The hashtag originated from Nepal, in the aftermath of the terrible earthquake that brought large scale doom and destruction. While the victims were fighting a treacherous battle, recovering from the pangs, Indian media personnel were at task to “sell” the news to viewers back home. On ground reporters were accused of breaching personal space and also being insensitive toward the victims.

With the establishment of several media houses in the past couple of years, the competition in India’s media has spiced up. ‘Quality’ news and opinion has taken a backseat to ‘interesting’ news and opinion. The “TRP war” compels broadcasters to share news stories that could involve questions about personal lives of famous people, staged sting operations, pointless speculations and even stories about spirits, ghosts and aliens….

News broadcasters should ideally be very responsible people who serve to educate and enlighten the masses. While I commend the work done in the past few years to bring journalism to the epicentre, I am also concerned that commercial ambition can be the perennial roadblock that devaluates Indian media.

photo credit: TV News camera and van via photopin (license)

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About me

I am a Grade 12 science student in Mumbai, India. I am an explorer with an endeavour to visit every nation on this planet. I aspire to be a travel journalist and experience varied cultural vibes across geographies. Wildlife, debating, poetry and entrepreneurship are some of my other interests.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

Learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent
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