A controversy, no matter who is dying, or being killed, is, in Mario Puzo’s language an offer the MEDIA cannot refuse.
That’s quite alright, for that’s Media Dharma. The same kind of Dharma that made Dharmaraya (Yudhisthira as known above the Narmada Valley) lie in the middle of a war, or made Ram(a) kill the powerful Vali hiding behind a tree.
There goes another headline.
I am not making accusations that the media is lying or that it hides behind a certain something (agenda) and fires arrows at selective targets. I may not be completely inaccurate if I made those accusations.
But all that I am saying is that there is always a justification for the “black” in the guy who is allowed to make mistakes, but not for the “grey” in the one who is disallowed to.
In the digital era that India is killing time in, like it did in the Dwapara Yuga or some other enigmatic time, Media’s perceived Dharma appears as if it is to create controversies.
And if that is too much of an ask for some, they must be second or third best at least, and, add to controversies.
In the 17th verse of the First Chapter of Circulation of the Old Testament and the 22nd verse of the First Chapter of TRP of the New Testament, there are provisions to subscribe to this Dharma. It is also there in the verses of sacred texts of the ‘Know Your Readers’ written in Arabic.
“And if need be, make it your mandate,” the lines in these books say. And thus the media follows its Dharma.
Dharma allows media to become subservient to advertisers while being a book-keeper of crimes of a few others. And every time the media errs in judgement (That It Should Not Judge Isn’t Part of The Dharma), its Karma from the past will come to its rescue.
This argument can also be made with specific instances. Some involving cricketers, actors, politicians, yesteryear figures like Tipu Sultan or the Great Indian Intolerance.
But it would be less funny and more controversial and draw criticism like cartoonists have drawn for depicting a man in bad light. And, the fear of the media trying to interpret this article is also worrisome.
So by keeping away from specific instances, like the most recent one involving one of contemporary India’s smart minds--Girish Karnad--I can stay clear of attracting individual media houses hounding me, and still hope to garner collective attention.
I mean, how much of what Karnad said is the cause for a controversy and how much of how the media reported it is the cause, is out there for everyone to see.
If traditional media has its Dharma, the polarised social media is just a victim of itself. The argument is not for regulation. Free speech is our right, I completely believe that as I key the next few words and believed in the same before this sentence began.
The argument is for sensitivity. The media should revisit its Dharma, lest we want to find the subscribers dwindling by the hour.
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