Journalism in India: In all seriousness

The nation watched in horror as the son-in-law of a political party, high on arrogance and drunk on power, brutally attacked a reporter with words so vicious they made the hair on virtuous necks stand up – “Are you serious? Are you nuts?”

It was remarkable how all the major Indian news channels wasted no time to stand in solidarity with a fellow journalist, just like they stood with the lady who was sexually assaulted by a famous editor last year. Such harmony is always heartening to see, especially when all the channels have a common goal. (We band of brothers!)

This issue was grave enough that the channels dedicated all their resources and prime time slots, for the next two days to rip apart every angle of and motivation behind this one damning remark “Are you serious?” And, rightly so. Horrible news such as this demands sensible coverage and no less is expected from top journalists who leave no stone unturned to report what is important and relevant for the country.

This incident stood out like an eyesore especially since the country has gotten quite used to the flood of enthralling news reportage post May 16th. The media is so accustomed to having all their questions answered by the new and charismatic Prime Minister and the easy access that they are enjoying into the going-ons of his government and cabinet members, that an unanswered question took the whole media industry completely by surprise. They were shocked by this sinister attack on their Camelot.

Even the social arm of the media, which is usually so calm and level headed, couldn’t stay quiet. It’s not everyday that the Indian side of the Internet wakes up and starts opining on just about anything! Twitter all but cracked into two halves with defenders of both side rising like Roman warriors – muscled with opinions, armed with righteousness. Imagine the effort it must have taken to announce and denounce views from the typically hard-working and busy denizens who only come online in emergency situations like #KursiKiPeti or #FoodPorn

But let’s not take away all the credit from where it belongs. No one knows the steel-spined, unforgiving, adversarial attitude in covering anybody who takes residence in 7RCR, more than the Indian news media. They were fearlessly critical of the previous government when it did nothing for the country, and they are still fearlessly critical of the previous government while it’s doing nothing for the country. That does not mean they have not covered the follies, lies and scandals of the otherwise flawless cabinet ministers. Their in-depth coverage to unearth the source of the money spent by the HRD minister on the 15,000 “Diwali saris” to Amethi constituency, was so encompassing, it can qualify as a case study for journalism students. The price of these “gifts”, was plastered all over the news channels and was repeated over and over quite like “Are you serious” till every taxpayer was standing in barely controlled rage with questions of their own. Such is the power of news!

No wonder, the world stood enraptured by the brave display of unyielding integrity by the entire Indian media, its social siblings, and especially the unlikely hero who went to cover the inauguration of a gymnasium and faced the impudent son-in-law who dared to question the seriousness and sanctity of journalism.

We should all be proud. Journalism was never this serious in our country.

Journalism is dead, serious.



First published in on Nov. 7, 2014:


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