Anna Hazare and his fight for corruption took over all headlines on the news channels in August. Almost all channels, in particular, the national news channel had relegated all other news for Anna's protest.
The fight against corruption has been going on since long but the exposure that the media chose to give to Anna's protest made a hero out of a frail old man from an unknown village of Maharashtra overnight. Well, right or wrong, this was also the show of strength by the Indian Media. This is a second time in recent past when we watched the power of media being used/ misused.
The first time was when we saw Rupert Murdoch and his tabloid ' News of the World' going down due to misuse of the media power by hacking phones of innocent people to get the breaking news. The incident rocked the British Parliament and embarrassed the government in power. In Anna Hazare's case too our overzealous media over-exposed the Civil Society demeaning the government, a matter which rocked the Indian Parliament. The reaction to the smear campaign is still occupying most of the time on our news channels.
Parliamentarians and many other organizations have criticized the media, in particular the television news channels for taking a one sided view of the protest and gathering the support of the masses by over exposing the discussions and incriminating speeches at the Ramlila Ground.
This clearly highlights the damages that an unbridled media can to do to the society. But with the government resolve to let the media regulate itself, how long one will have to see such mishandled mass movements in the country? Perhaps the anchor sitting in the studio shouting, screaming and managing the discussions to bring home his/ the channel editor's point of view does not realize what damage his provocations can do to the viewer's psyche.
Very rightly the election commission has issued guidelines for all the news channels regarding paid news before the elections. Even I & B ministry have issued guidelines for programmes involving children. This was long overdue, considering that almost every entertainment channel has live shows involving children and also child actors acting in TV serials and ads.
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