Life In The Times of ‘BREAKING NEWS’

We live in the digital age . The age of “Breaking News”. Breaking news hitting right at your face, threatening you to take note of the information being fed to you, else you would miss out on the most happening events of the day. It’s not just TV. These newsmen have entered every avenue of our lives. Facebook, Twitter, Mobile Apps, Radio and (the funny part) Google+ as well. Missing out some news is perhaps harder than not knowing something. In fact we have not been given a break long enough to sit back and think whether all this news matters to us. Is the time spent to read about all the horrible and mundane things about a set of public figures worth it? Let us take a step back and see how we got here.

We were taught in our youth that reading newspapers was a good habit. It was supposed to improve our English and general knowledge. It was also said to shape our opinion on issues and educate us on the impact of news on our daily life. We thought that it is was a simple yet important profession or service necessary for a functioning democracy. But that is just theory. Only in recent times have we been able to understand that it is a complex fabric pulled in various directions by a bunch of powerful and manipulative people trying to control the rest of us by feeding us selective information on a handful of seemingly “important” issues.

These “important” issues (except elections) are usually things that a common man can usually never influence or change single handedly (or even as a sizable group). Budget, army, terrorist attacks, border disputes meetings between politicians, fuel hike, GDP growth, Salman Khan’s latest girlfriend, Google’s self driving car, projected earnings of Rajnikanth’s next cartoon movie How can a man on the street stop or suggest the big brother to change his heart or bend the statistics? It is a checkmate. He is forced to accept most of this news as it is. The overall aim is to project some balance of chaos and hope so that people, eventually feel OK , or many times just OK.

As long as things are working fine , people are expected show up at work, do our job, draw monthly salary, pay the damn tax , struggle to clear EMIs , grow old and die. Why is the media not reporting about the poor infrastructure and quality of primary education in this country? Why are they not paying attention to the huge volumes of garbage being produced in the metros? Who will speak up against the pathetic medical services in government health centers? Who will report the alarming rise of vehicles on road and the poor quality of public transport? Who is going to tells to respect our neighbors who believe in a different god? Who will wake up our lousy academicians who have retained a stone age curriculum when the world is undergoing a mind boggling change every single day? These are the issues that will affect our lives every single day. These are the things will bring in long term change.These issues help build a better and saner tomorrow.

Our masters have somehow managed to erase things that matter out of the equation. Real social progress would hurt their agenda. They can’t manage to hold on to their illegitimate bastions in a sane and educated society. This is exactly why politicians and businessmen are persistent on controlling media. In fact they have succeeded in achieving the said goal. Somebody has to speak out. Unfortunately, everybody can’t own a loudspeaker and a radio transmitter to complain and outrage. Even social media is not the right platform to reach out.

Journalists and TV reporters are armed with a medium to reach out to huge number of people, powerful and powerless. And their sole aim is to gather the attention of as many eyes as possible at any given moment. Let genuine journalism wither and die in a cold hopeless corner. Media, in my opinion is an agent that is simultaneously shaping and recording the social, cultural and political landscape of our country. In an ideal situation, it must be able to transform and catalyze positive change in society. It must fight for individual rights, democratic principles and social harmony. It must open our eyes to the injustice meted out common men by those who are powerful. Instead, it is only making us feel either hopeless or insecure on a daily basis .

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