No matter what the news, it's always the name which attracts viewers. Sanjay Dutt is a case in point
MUHAMMAD KAMRAN SHAMSHAD
When most of the people switch on their television box, they zap straight to their favourite soap operas and enjoy watching it. Few of them who are interested in news and developments from around the world, watch news channels. They religiously watch news channels hoping they will be provided with the news as it should be. And whatever they watch on such channels, most of the people take it as a gospel truth. It is beyond their imagination to question what media feeds them with. Such people cannot believe that media can mislead them, let alone telling a lie.
We can, partly, blame the people for blindly trusting news channels, but the onus lies on the media which tries to mislead them in one way or the other. In some news stories, which require investigation, hard work, follow up, we find media, most of the times, giving us wrong information, just to be the first one to break the news and gain their favourite dish TRPs.
People also expect news channels to disseminate news according to its importance. But unfortunately that is not how corporate media works.
Case in point is the latest verdict on 1993 Mumbai serial blasts that had claimed over 250 lives. The apex court upheld the death sentence of Yakub Memon, commuted life imprisonment to many others and also sentenced Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt to five years in jail.
Now I am sure, by now every average news watcher would know that Sanjay Dutt’s five-year jail term was actually reduced from six years. He would also know on what charges Sanjay Dutt was sentenced. But was that the big news! A person getting five year term or a person getting the death penalty? How many people know who Yakub Memon is? How many people know why he is the sole convict to be awarded death sentence? How many people know why the attack took place, at the first place?
The news of Yakub Memon’s death sentence was lost in the media, because of the simple card which media plays ‘Names make News.’ And Sanjay Dutt’s name gave them that. Media was on Sanjay Dutt the whole day. They were successful in grabbing the eyeballs of people. People talked about the five-year jail term awarded to the actor. Nobody spoke of Yakub Memon and others. But, nonetheless, if media wanted to play Sanjay Dutt so desperately, they could have played it differently considering that he is the brother of a sitting MP Priya Dutt, considering that his father was also an MP. Instead media played in such a way, that the actor received compassion from many circles. Well, that is a different debate all together.
But the way Indian media went overboard covering Dutt’s sentence and galvanizing compassion for the actor proves that media loves to play the ‘names make news card’ which gives them Television Ratings least caring about the media ethics.