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Prime Time Circus

When Indian news anchors become judge, jury and executioner

9/1/2015 2:37:10 PM
written By : Ashali Varma Print

Recently, a group of Americans were shown Arnab Goswami’s prime time, debates. Their reactions were telling. One viewer just could not understand why everyone was shouting at each other. Another American said it sounded anarchic and nothing newsworthy was discussed. Yet another found it bizarre and refused to believe that it happened every night. Yes, English television news at prime time has descended into tabloid sensationalism. When one channel sets a precedent every channel tries to ape it. Luckily for India we have several hundred news channels, in regional languages and Hindi, which have a much larger audience so all is not lost. The worst part of the debates is when Goswami and his panelists scream that so and so minister of a state or centre must resign even though no court of law has convicted them of anything! In a democracy where the press is free and there are judicial checks and balances how can news anchors act like they have the authority to be judge, jury and executioner.
The truth is that Goswami and some others who debate endlessly every night are not really news anchors. The first thing one learns as a journalist is that the media must  inform, educate and investigate to give its viewers news as it is happening without bias. The moment bias steps in then it is not news it is one man’s opinion or views.

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