TV news channels are agents of chaos under the guise of Oracles, writes Trailokya Jena.
In today’s cyber electronics ecosystem our mind is controlled and manipulated, more than we may like to admit, by poster faces of anchors and experts in the electronics media and opinion makers on the social media. With each passing day they are consolidating their position on our minds while enriching themselves by grabbing returns far beyond their actual mental intellectual value. While gathering wealth through all sorts of con jobs is as old as organised society, what characterises these modern breed is their limitless capacity to harm innocent citizenry while enjoying enormous power over fellow human beings without an iota of responsibility or accountability.
Their day to day tyranny over the citizenry has practically no workable counter in the hands of common people. In their relentless pursuit towards personal glory and riches, they have come to control and manipulate all elements of State authority and have become agents of chaos in modern societies.
We have been living under this helpless realisation for quite sometime. What makes one feel utterly revolted is the venal handling of the case of the captured Indian Airforce Pilot in Pakistan custody by the Indian electronics media through out the day. It became particularly revolting at the prime time broadcasts in the evening which perilously threatens the promised release of the captive by Pakistan tomorrow. In their no holds barred completion for TRP and personal oneupmanship, absurd theories are conceived, fantastic scenarios are described, unbelievable jingo is aroused and too much Sabre rattling is sounded thereby jeopardising the diplomatic efforts painstakingly built during the day to secure the release of the Pilot.
In their quest for creating the loudest competitive sound bites and irresponsibly challenging Pakistani authorities’ honour, or whatever left of it,news anchors pay no heed to the wise lines taken by former Chiefs of the Armed Forces that comments would be made only after the captive lands safely on our soil. Such mercenary behaviour for TRP by our rabble rousing television anchors is a threat to our safety and security.
I watch a fair bit of Pakistani news media while abroad and on YouTube here in India. They are totally India -centric as they obsessively compare with India in just about everything. I’ve often wondered how difficult it is to run a channel there as they are constantly under the lens of ISI. In every channel and on all major political and economic debate there would be a Establishment Representative in the panel who not only chooses other panelists but also draws the limit beyond which the anchor and others can not go. If any debate goes out of hand the ISI rings up then and there to close the programme. Dissenting anchors and experts are thrown out of job or the channel is shut down. Further, they operate under direct threat of kidnapping, maiming and death by Extremists and ISI which has been the fate of many news anchors.
While the majority of channels are as senseless as we see here, there have been quite a few running excellent programmes on range of issues in spite of the ubiquitous presence of Establishment men like Lt Gen Amjad Shoaib, Brig Ghajanfar Ali or Air Marshal Shahid Latif. Then there are inveterate India haters and rabid fundamentalists like Zaid Hamid, Orya Maqbool Jaan and Amir Liaqt to name a few. It is a miracle that in spite of such environments you get to see excellent debates anchored by Ezaz Ahmed, Rauf Klasra, Murtaza Solangi, Arif Nizami, Washat Ullah Khan, Mubashir Zaidi, Hamid Mir etc. In fact Hamid Mir survived an assassination attempt for covering Ajmal Kashab’s village after 26/11. Currently Ezaz Ahmed and Solangi are off the air as they were critical of Army rigged Imran election.
It is so sad to see the kind of tight -rope such anchors have to walk day in and day out while keeping afloat on the cut throat Pakistani news media market(they have no English news Channel). Their debates are conducted in far more civilised manner and their intellectual content provided by experts like Hassan Nissar, Rauf Hassan, Moeed Yusuf to name a few is very mature. This in spite of such a narrow education base where children are taught that Pakistan came to existence the day Bin Qasim invaded the then India and Pakistan ruled over almost entire Indian sub continent during the reign of Khilji!
I have seen a few Pakistani history books for student courses in the School of Asian and African Studies in London that defies all sense of history.
Compared to this, the Indian scene is no less senseless and chaotic if you consider our news channels. Too much of openness and democracy combined with our genetic greed and opportunism make our media horrendously agenda -ridden and politically irresponsible and manipulative. They so thoroughly misuse the liberty guaranteed by us to their activities. No body knows the educational attainments and intellectual credentials of our lead anchors. Going by their daily discourses I don’t put it at any commendable standard. Most of them are political stooges and career opportunists occupying positions not on intellectual merit but on patronage. They get huge economic packages much beyond their actual value. Some of them get dubious compensations from seditious interests, both domestic and foreign, as rumours would have it.
In a short span of time they have come to wield enormous influence over the fate of the country and its people. They are now now the modern day Oracles of India. In their infamous fight to hijack the will of the nation they have pushed out true intellectuals and grassroots thinkers from all meaningful national discourses. Their collective behaviour during this on going fight against terrorism and its sole sponsor Pakistan is abysmal to say the least. We have to rescue our country from these cretins. My only prayer at the time of this posting is for our Pilot’s safe return to our soil. After that it may be time to remove some of these faces from our mind’s wall.
(The writer is former principal chief commissioner of Income Tax and lives in New Delhi)
(Views are Personal)