Double Sided Reality of Journalism : From Knight Templar of News to Jokers

I write this post in at most disgust, which was building up inside me , ever since the day I choose a profession in Journalism. 5 years ago, successfully enrolled into my graduation program, the ambitions in the field was towering. But today, in midst of chaotic surroundings of war, failing democracy, social unrest, religious fanaticism, I believe the ethical role of being a journalist had fallen deeper into nadir. What ultimately is the role of journalist?, is it skipping through the disheartening and disillusion news stories that pop up in the screens in a regular basis and be such a journalist who scavenges and bring forth stories. Or is it about being a sponsored writer, one who is very well versed in the art of biased writing in such a manner that an average reader could liken individual journalist to a particular political or bureaucratic institution. Thus here the journalist attains the role of a modern day hybrid child of propaganda and a lobby-ism.

Being a journalist in 21st century it is true that compromise is something we should learn to adapt rather than going out on a rebellious run. Often following the tight schedule, we have to come up with stories, which should feeds on the interests of the editor and those at the top of the news organisation. It is also a regular habit of feeding the public with news that is of immediate effects and often following an agenda towards public that,” World has all gone wrong and here is what you need to know to survive” more than bringing forth the true nature of world. Thus heightened interest in controversy, crime and limitless entertainment, result in the multimedia users, losing the sense of realities of life. Today journalists barely scratch on the surface of reality and rather choose an altered consumer oriented fantasy. For example, news of a tragedy would be a big news for the readers in 1950’s compared to contemporary readers who are exposed to wide array of calamities, accidents, disasters and so on from across the world. Today numbers define our reality, often if two people died, it is a general occurrence and people neglect citing another incident which killed 100 people thus dismissing the news entirely. So, with abundant news,thanks to news agencies we are fed with all kinds of unwanted news ,thus forcing many of true news savvy to search for news that matters the most. It is not kind to say abundant news and its availability is a sin, but one could say a news organisation does something sinful, unethical if they choose to willfully conceal or redact a news from the public. It is very sad to say this since we all have grown into a world of educated citizenry and reasonable thinking. Sponsored and paid writers, yellow journalism, fake news, entertainment tabloids and so on have taken place of traditional journalism making us more of a joker than what we were supposed to behold. The credibility crisis has already done the damage enough to tarnish the image of journalist and thus redefining the meaning of being a journalist.

INDIAN CONTEXT

‘The fourth pillar of Indian Constitution’, the Indian Media in general has been in hostile grounds for sometime, ever since the infamous sting operations of the magazine Tehelka, ‘ the operation west end’ which brought scuffle in Indian politics, something I felt, which brought a new dawn in Indian Journalism. It is true that process they undertook clandestinely would be questionable in an ethical sense. But it revealed another sensibility that Indian Media is either ignorant or blatantly ignores what people in power does. Series of other investigative stories which were brought out, following the similar path by many news outlets were intended to save the face of many established media giants. But on the same time Journalism flourished in every medium, the unhealthy practice of biased writing had grown beyond the boundaries and established itself as a practice in contemporary news. It is plainly visible today how online fake news, paid writing brought Trump to power and favored many others in all around the world. It is highly debatable but in overview of the 2014 election victories of Modi, one could easily notice how Modi’s image was portrayed in media through paid writings, interviews and online news portals. Here media is busy serving the Bose, they have failed in bravely sticking with the news that need immediate attention, thus people are driven off many useful and informative things. As of 2018, I have no regret saying that nothing had changed or gotten better and all I could see is we all are turning out being better at being good servants.

We were supposed to be Knight Templar of Journalism, obliged to efficient delivery and protect news that matters than the contemporary Jokers of modern Journalism.

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New Bourgeois mutants are in town

According to Karl Marx, Bourgeoisie are those social class that happened to exist in all society, who creates, control and have access over all the materialistic and consumerist aspects of a society. Meanwhile the downtrodden and poor Proletariat, work their ass out in all grounds of life to barely survive to see the end of the day. Now generally speaking, those who are rich can here be somewhat classified under this very French term. I was never a real fan of Marx’s ‘Das Kapital’ after all, but to an extent was a believer of some of his ideas which shed light upon certain realities of contemporary world as well. Marx’s ideas were generally obscure Utopian fantasies to an extend which killed more people than it was supposed to save them. But on one particular aspect of ideals I always felt he was right, that is about the eternal presence of Bourgeoisie in the society. The presence of those people in power, those who have money to buy anything could actually fill into the category. But by filtering and generalizing further on the list of suitors under the tag Bourgeoisie, the modern day Bourgeoisie is rather disguised like a mutant who shows their true colors only when somebody pesters around them. In truth, the newfangled bourgeoisie’s of modern age are pretty much straightforward and different from their predecessors which Karl Marx enlightened us with.

Modern day globalization had made things pretty hard to explain Marxism in presence of various social gradations of everyday life. It is simply hard because of the numerous illegal properties and counterfeit currencies all across the world which made people act poor in eyes of the authority. But the mutant bourgeoisie I was speaking here about was moreover different, the ones that does not fit in the category of those with flesh and blood. For example, a powerful bourgeoisie I was speaking is “Social Media”.

It is actually a confusing, the way I have actually ended the last paragraph. It is true after all, to those who could read between the lines, and who could actually understand where I was actually heading into. Social media, a powerful tool these days is something we all couldn’t live without, it is also something we couldn’t argue upon. The intrusion of social media in life brought tremendous changes which we couldn’t even imagine 20 years ago. Today social media dictates our life, it shows what we are and we do. It generates celebrities, it generates revolution( Arab spring) , it generates controversies, it destroys careers and built new ones everyday. Today generally speaking nothing is offline. It had revolutionizes what we call reality and also replaced it with a dangerous ultra-reality . The ultra reality here is so powerful that it makes us a superhero or a doctor, or a fisherman or an investigative scientist in no matter of time. The abundant of your private information, your behavior pattern and private life all are thus online and is said to be ‘safe with us’, guarantees all social media service providers. But how much that is true after all as even US presidential election seems to shudder upon cyber allegations and hoaxes. Here the mutant, cyber world can be good or bad depending upon on the user. Now moving away from it let us speak more about Bourgeoisie in here. The Bourgeoisie here is none other than those who are in the helm of controlling these cyber worlds where the laws of nature or laws of physical world means nothing. They manage to attract people, learn their behavioral pattern and feed them with what they want. It is like the materialistic exploitation on working class by the capitalists so that they are kept at a distance from acknowledging the true realities of life. The social media feed us with through processes like behavioral advertising, thus making us addictive to the needs of modern day Bourgeoisie. Thus we could see the core idea of Bourgeoisie and Proletariat in 21st century, where it doesn’t actually matters whether you are living in a democratic country or in a dictatorship. We may find a way to deal with it in time and also hope that we won’t completely lost the sense of what is real.

END OF AN ERA : KALAIGNAR KARUNANIDHI ; Whats next ?

It has been a while since we last saw the mastery of Muthuvel Karunanidhi in active politics which always out shined his contemporaries of Tamil Nadu politics. The kind of politics that had taken its own shape during his tenure can be read alone with the likes of Annadurai, MGR and Jayalalitha. Even though he flight toe to toe, teeth to teeth with Jayalalitha till the end there was nobody else apart from her that threatened him in politics.  Today when he finally bid farewell to an illustrious political career, he left behind a vacuum of uncertainty over Tamil Nadu politics which seems to look vague and unclear. Stalin who could be the next possible successor in line seems to be a shadow of his father and Kanimozhi seems not to hold the charm her father held. The Kalaignar’s root runs further deeper into life of Dravidian politics for decades which he successfully defended even when MGR and Jayalalitha stole majority of the heart of an average ‘Tamizhmakkal’ through their own version. This particular identity Kalaignar established in the hearts of people as a writer and a excellent orator is undeniable.  When Jayalalitha finally bid farewell in 2016 Kalaignar was left alone as the sole survivor for an era of Dravidian politics of Tamil Nadu which saw rise and fall of many. The 5 times chief minister of Tamil Nadu, 10 times as DMK supremo spanning 50 years, Kalaignar had embodied a charismatic image of a special leader. His political career was often accompanied with likes of being a script writer, novelist, lyricist and so on which could be read alongside his deep roots in Dravidian ideology. One of his major achievement was able to implement English and Tamil as major mode of communication in state while keeping distance from Hindi which many disliked from the start. What makes Karunanidhi special among his compatriots were his overall ambition for his fellow Tamizhans and his contributions to the state during his tenure at office and at opposition. Even when he shifted away from truth and fall prey to corruption and various other misconducts he continued to hold onto his faith and single handily drive the party forward.  One can’t forget those political moves like the one which welcomed both Indira and later her daughter Sonia into politics in two different decades and any political moves to stop AIDMK coming into power. Even during long 10 years, sitting in opposition against MGR’s AIDMK and later under Jayalalitha the patience Kalaingnar showed was something unique which we couldn’t see anymore in the contemporary politics. Even though in-spite of the hardships, his deep rooted Dravidian philosophy had already stolen heart of many people in time as he was their only immortal Kalaignar. Inspired by Periyar and later when he came to Madras to join E.V Ramaswamy’s Justice Party nothing was quite sure until his caliber as a talented script writer proved vital source of the Dravidian movement. It was through the movie Parasakti, starring Sivaji Ganeshan wherein dialogues that was against anti- Brahmanism came to limelight which quickly caught attention of people. Kalaignar, was first noticed in the eyes of people was during his protest against changing the name of a railway station Kallukady to Dalmiapuram in Tamil Nadu. Four years later he was elected to state assembly from Kulithalai constituency. It was the beginning  of the era of Muthuvel Karunanadhi as well as a new politics. During the same time a  friendship was born with  Marudhur Gopalan Ramachandra(MGR) following the huge success of his 1950 movie ‘Manthri Kumaran’ for which Karunanidhi wrote the script and MGR did the lead role. The friendship shifted into a rivalry following a split later with MGR starting his own party AIDMK.

Now as the tale of Karunanidhi ends in Tamil Nadu politics what lies ahead is the uncertainty over the future of the state’s political spectrum. Just like Palani Swami’s AIDMK which struggled to create a new image after the demise of Jayalalitha, DMK would also have to go through the same phase in order to gain people’s faith once again. Unlike 60’s the cause today is different, society has changed considerably and the need to represent Dravidian ideology is less significant compared to likes of communal cards played by BJP and Congress who is fast tracking ways to finally enter the politics of the state. Now as 2019 Lok Sabha election is close by Stalin is leftover with a decision to make which seems to affect the internal politics of both state as well the party. Also considering the odds surrounding the possible entry of Rajinikanth and Kamalahassan into politics will also play a key part in deciding  the future of Tamil Nadu. The recent turmoil in politics can further churn a possible heir to to the changing mindset of people after demise of Jayalalaitha. Not only did people started to think out of box, unlike their predecessors their demand for better governance and stability increased drastically. Therefore it seems to be a real test for DMK in absence of Kalaignar to entrust Stalin with all responsibilities and aspirations. The real question that prevails is whether Stalin could follow the steps and create a colossus figure his father Karunanithi had carved out for him in Tamizhakam.

Who Kills Who : Tale Of Indian News Stories

I write this post in the context of an event that happened less than 72 hours ago. A 23 year old man was murdered by group of criminals which include the brother of the victim’s wife. The reason was his sister went onto defy her family and married the victim who was unfortunately a lower caste man. The victim was found lying dead in a canal miles away from his home after being abducted from his home a day before by the gang says his father, who the very day lodged a complaint at police station. The police on the hand failed to take an decisive action on time stating silly reason as chief minister was visiting the district.

Now as the media converge over the story it is sure that people will soon reach out for more similar incidents and politicians will pay a visit to the victim’s house. While on the public front the online mourners will foul cry over the incidents, investigation and hastag their posts as likes, comments as shares pour in. There will also be people out there who may or may not have any idea about the incident but will try to politicalise the situation. This is not any form of my personal agenda to insult anyone but because of reason that of being a citizen I am also sick and tired of these dramas. The drama as I have mentioned occurs round the clock as something news worthy take place and gets enough interest. Now it is bound to occupy the front page of newspaper or through a break-in in a news channel. The following days will eventually be filled with follow up stories and sub stories. Eventually one day it will all disappear all of a sudden when the story loses its signifanace and may luckily for the sake occupies a corner in the local newspapers and channels. I can’t call it an intentional act or personal decision but more of a act of how system runs these days.

In a decade of page 3 syndrome and tablodisation it is quite common for someone to be famous for couple of minutes but it is also a truth that often for such silly stories some valuable stories are destined to be sacrificed. When TRP rating says more masala more time for entertainment and gossips is given the priority.

The priority here is born out of a system that demands sensationalized news for a large target audience who occups a converged media platform with a demand for more and more. When you ask for more and others starts to feed on your demands it is hard to turn your face against it.

A Bizarre Fairy Tale

Once upon a time in a deep distant land as mentioned in the old fashioned fairytales there lived the ‘good’. The ‘good’ had a not so good neighbour namely ‘evil’ who always find a reason to fight with the ‘good’. One day an infant born named ‘religion’ was stuck up in their topic for fight and it was all that was necessary to trigger a great war, war of all wars , a never ending war as the old men and saints say. As the war started to take the shape and kept it’s momentum running throughout centuries ‘religion’ was almost at it’s prime. As days and ages changed everything changed and ‘religion’ now has a family with dozens of wives namely ‘caste’,’creed’,’color’ and so on. Now while all this changes happened our two main chieftains ‘good’ and ‘evil’ continue to exhibit their presence despite letting the fight being handed down to their children ‘humans’. Now the war is quite modern and unlike the old days not just the soldiers fought the war but  also everyone on the entire tribe have their own groups to fight for each other. Once the fight was only between the two, now it is between more than two say maybe infinite since nobody knows how many groups exist. But at the end of day nobody won and everybody lost a fair share. As the war progressed  this poor writer may not be there alive to unveil to you the forthcoming events of the war of wars. But one thing I am quite sure is that there are lot more words that have to be filled here inorder to end this fairytale in the words ‘thereby they lived happy there after’.

Nb: please don’t find a male chuvanism in it and everything mentioned here is of pure satire.

ഇതാണ് ഞങ്ങളുടെ രാഷ്ട്രീയം 

കാലം മാറി കഥ  മാറി എന്നുതിരിച്ചറിയാൻ മലയാളികൾക്ക് ഇത്തിരി ബുദ്ധിമുട്ടാണ്.ബാർ പൂട്ടൽ  മുതൽ ഗുണ്ടസ്ക്വാഡ്‌ വരെ എത്തിനിൽക്കുന്ന  രാഷ്ട്രീയ ഇടപെടലുകൾ ഓരോരോ ഈർക്കിലി രാഷ്ട്രീയ നേതാക്കളെയും പോലും ചൊടിപ്പിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ട് എന്നാണ് കേട്ടുകേൾവി. പണ്ടൊക്കെ ഇലക്ഷന് മുന്പും പിൻന്പും കുപ്പി കാട്ടിയാൽ  രാഷ്ട്രീയ പുലംബുന്ന അണികൾ ഒത്തിരി കിട്ടുമായിരുന്നു. പാർട്ടി ഏതായാലും കുപ്പി കൊടുത്താൽ പാർട്ടി നമ്മുടെ പാർട്ടി എന്നു ചിലർ  നിസ്സംഗതം പറയും. ഇന്നിപ്പോൾ കുപ്പി കിട്ടാത്ത പേരിൽ പാർട്ടി മാറുന്ന അണികളാണ് എങ്ങും.  അതുകൊണ്ട്‍ സമരത്തിനും ഹർത്താലിനും ഭായിമാരെ വാടകയ്ക്കു എടുക്കുന്നതാണ് ഇപ്പോഴത്തേത് പാർട്ടിക്കാരുടെ ഒരിത്. 

ഇലെക്ഷനും ബഹളവും അഴിമതിവിമുക്ത പ്രഖ്യാപനവും ഒക്കെ തകൃതിയായി നടന്നെങ്കിലും കണ്ണൂരിൽ നിന്നുള്ള സഖാവിന്റെ കാലകേടു പാർട്ടിയുടെ കാലകേടായി മാറിയിട്ടുണ്ടോന്നു സംശയം ഇല്ലാതില്ല.പാർട്ടിയുടെ ശക്തികേന്ദ്രത്തിൽ കാര്യങ്ങൾ അത്ര സുഖകരമല്ലെന്നാണ് കേട്ടുകേൾവി. വെട്ടും കുത്തും  രാഷ്ട്രീയ കൊലപാതകവും ഒക്കെ വര്ഷങ്ങളായിട്ടു നടന്നുവരുന്ന ഒരാചാരം ആണെന്നു ഓരോരോ കുട്ടിക്ക്  പോലുമറിയാം .പണ്ടൊന്നും ഇല്ലാത്തപോലെ ചോദ്യങ്ങളും മറുചോദ്യങ്ങളും ചാനൽ ചർച്ചകളും ചില കലാകാരന്മാരെ അലോസരപ്പെടുത്തിയിട്ടുണ്ട്.കൂടാതെ നല്ലപിള്ള  ചമയാനുള്ള സർക്കാരിന്റെ സാഹസങ്ങൾ പലതും തിരിച്ചടി കിട്ടുന്നുണ്ടെന്നാണ് ഫോർട്ട്  കൊച്ചിയിലെ നിന്നുള്ള വാർത്തകളിൽ കേൾക്കുന്നത് . കയ്ച്ചിട്ടു തുപ്പാനും വയ്യ മധുരിച്ചിട്ടു ഇറക്കാനും  വയ്യ  എന്ന അവസ്ഥയിലാണ് മുഖ്യനും  കൂട്ടരും .ഗുണ്ടസ്ക്വാഡ്‌ പ്രഖ്യാപനവും നടപടിയും ഒക്കെ തകൃതിയായി നടക്കുന്നു എന്നതിൽ ചിലർക്കൊക്കെ സമാധാനിക്കാം . ആരൊക്കെ സമരത്തിൽ പങ്കെടുത്തു പങ്കെടുത്തില്ല എന്നതിന്റെ സർവ്വേ പാർട്ടിക്കുള്ളിൽ മുതിർന്ന സഖാവ് നടത്തിയെന്നും മറ്റും വാർത്തകൾ കണ്ടിരുന്നു. പഴയ മുഖ്യൻ പുന്നപ്രയിൽ പോയോ പോയില്ല എന്നത് വ്യക്തമല്ല എന്നാലും സ്വയം പങ്കെടുത്തില്ലെന്നു സഖാവ് ഇപ്പോഴെങ്കിലും തുറന്നുപറഞ്ഞു.നല്ലകാര്യം.

പ്രതിപക്ഷത്തു  ഇരിക്കുന്നവർക് നോമ്പ് കാലമാണ് എന്നുതോന്നിപ്പോകും അവരുടെ രാഷ്ട്രീയ ഇടപെടൽ കണ്ടാൽ. ഭരണകക്ഷിയെക്കാളും ആരോപണങ്ങൾ നേരിടുന്ന പ്രതിപക്ഷമാണെന്നു കണ്ടാൽ ചിലപ്പോൾ തോന്നിപോകും  . മാണിയും,ഇലെക്ഷനും, തോൽവിയും ഒക്കെ തന്ന തിരിച്ചടി അതിജീവിക്കാൻ പാർട്ടിക്കു കഴിയുന്നുണ്ടോ എന്നത് ഒരു ചോദ്യചിന്നമായി നിലനിൽക്കുന്നു.തൊട്ടതൊക്കെ തിരിച്ചടി തരുന്നത് കാണുമ്പോ  കാലകേടു തന്നെയുന്നു  പറയാം ചില  അണികൾക്ക് ആശ്വസിക്കാൻ . മൂന്നാം മുന്നണിയുടെ വരവ് പാർട്ടിയെ തളർത്തി എന്നും ഇല്ലെന്നും ചിലർ നിസംഗതം പറയുന്നുണ്ടെങ്കിലും അണികളുടെ കൊഴിഞ്ഞുപോക്കിനു യാതൊരു കുറവുമില്ല.പാലാക്കാരെയും പൂഞ്ഞാറുകാരെയും  പിണക്കിയത് ശരിയായിലെന്ന് ചില നേതാക്കൾക്ക് ഇപ്പൊ തോന്നിക്കാണും. മുന്നണിയുടെ തോൽവി  ആരുടെ  തെറ്റാണെന്നു കണ്ടെത്താനുള്ള കമ്മീഷൻ തുടങ്ങിയെന്നോ മറ്റോ കേട്ടിരുന്നു.  എന്നാൽ ഇപ്പോൾ കമ്മീഷനും ഭരണകാലത്തെ പല പദ്ധതികൾ പോലെയാണെന്നാണ് കേൾക്കുന്നത് . കുറ്റം ആരുടേതാണെങ്കിലും കേന്ദ്രത്തെ സമീപിക്കുന്നതിൽ  ഉള്ള  പഴയ ഏർപ്പാടിനോട്  പലർക്കും  താത്പര്യം കുറഞ്ഞതായാണ്  കേൾക്കുന്നത്. അമ്മ മകൻ  രാഷ്രിയത്തിനോട് ഇപ്പൊ പഴയ പോലെ  വിശ്വാസം കുറവാണുതാനും.പ്രതിപക്ഷത്തു ഇരുന്നു കൊണ്ട് കാര്യമായ സർക്കാർ വിരുദ്ധ മുദ്രവാക്യമൊന്നും നടത്തിയിട്ടുമില്ലതാനും. സ്വാശ്രയ മെഡിക്കൽ കോളേജ്  പ്രവേശനം ചൊല്ലി ചില നേതാക്കൾ ഒന്നോ രണ്ടോ ദിവസം  നിരാഹാരം കിടക്കോ മറ്റോ ചെയ്തിരുന്നു എന്നും കേട്ടിരുന്നു .മുന്നണിയുടെ  അയഞ്ഞ പ്രതികരണം കണ്ടാൽ തോന്നും കൈ നനയാതെ മീൻ പിടിക്കാൻ പഠിക്കുകയാണോ എന്നു . എന്തുതന്നെ ആയാലും ഈ കാലകേടിനു ഒരു ജോൽസ്യനെ കാണുന്നതായിരിക്കും എത്രയും പെട്ടെന്നു നല്ലതെന്നു പല  നേതാക്കൾക്കും തോന്നിയിരിക്കണം.