Way back in 2007-08 one of my cousins, in a lake side discussion, pointed out that how media giants are into news-fixing or rather fixing the news. None amongst the listeners could refute, because the one who introduced this news was himself a news-man in a media-giant of India. It was something that was hard for me to believe, because the seemingly true news-reporting were truly true to me. Seven years later, I am reminded of that day because I was surprised by the contra-reporting in two leading dailies of Lucknow, India. It was about an incident where there was a ruckus between two political groups. One (Amar Ujala, a leading Hindi daily) reported that a group of a political party (AAP) tried to vandalize a vehicle owned by the other group having patronage of the ruling party in country. They (AAP) started with deflating the tyre of a vehicle owned by the opponent group and when media people tried to photograph the event they retorted to man-handling of media persons and loot. The other newspaper, a leading English daily (The Times of India) blamed the other group for all the acts mentioned above. It reported that this ‘other group’ brutally man-handled the AAP supporters and was the reason behind the ruckus.
A very small incident indeed in the presence of so many things happening in this world, but, how many of those reports that comes to us are really not news-fixed? I am now reminded of so many sting-operations that never saw the desired end because they all started with heavy reporting and finally ended with no-reporting. Often these specific type of reporting vanish after one or two published news reports. Many a times we can find news reports against the government’s ways and policies followed by full page advertisements from the government itself, and then those reports vanish or are placed in a less prominent place before they actually vanish. So many local atrocities by big players of private sector don’t even find a way to news.
We hear from the news-fixers about match-fixing, and about fixing of this and that in the country, but when told by someone about news-fixing (though it is there somewhere at our subconscious level) we feel flabbergasted, because the ‘fourth estate’ is crumbling after the other three are already under heavy fixing. And, I must say, we must feel sympathetically towards this last ‘estate’ because, it was never physically present, we perceived its existence, and still it held its ground to support the system called democracy. When it’s all about perception, different media-men have rights to perceive things differently, as I perceive it today!