A Southern sting

BY G. Nagamallika| IN Regional Media | 30/09/2007
Why did it pick on a nameless Professor? The rendezvous was duly filmed and telecast, costing the man his career.
G. NAGAMALLIKA is horrified.

How far can media go in order to aggressively market their product in an increasingly competitive market? A recently launched channel in Telugu, NTV, has found extraordinary ways of becoming ‘popular’. Considering the distance it is maintaining from ethical conduct and its courting of the sensational, the  trend which was observed only in the North seems now to have  spread to the South.


Within a few days of its launch on August 30, 2007, NTV ‘staged’ a sting operation on a hapless professor from Osmania University, Hyderabad, with a female journalist planted as a PhD student who propositioned the professor. The rendezvous was duly filmed and telecast, costing the man his career. All this for a sensational story that too which was conducted in the most unethical manner! Although one cannot uphold the innocence of the Professor, it seems to have the Shakti Kapoor hangover! For one, the media cannot be totally absolved of its role in this sordid issue. Why did it pick on a nameless Professor who was not harassing his actual students (there has been no such reports so far) and who was neither a star nor a politician?


NTV has now created a discord between two super stars from the Telugu film industry, Mohan Babu and Chiranjeevi, by sensationalizing a flimsy issue and blowing it out of proportion, once again to create ‘news’. A small rift between some drivers and dancers from the Telugu industry was caused at a ‘take home’ restaurant as both groups ordered for some parcels and it became an ego issue as to who should get it first. This restaurant is situated between the plots of the two actors, which led to NTV jumping the gun and construing that a rift occurred between the two actors saying that the two groups were from both the sides as they saw some men from Mohan Babu’s house going along in the same lane to another restaurant close by. This was enough of a ‘proof’ for the so called channel who went ahead and declared that a rift had occurred between the two men. Although by itself it might not lead to any great loss, it reflects on the poverty of thought and ethics that has been so evident in this channel.


NTV has been launched by a realtor who hit the jackpot in the real estate boom that Hyderabad is currently witnessing. Similar to this, although political in intent was the recent channel started by the DMK in Tamil Nadu. With the media in the hands of the powerful in society, who cares for anything called social responsibility or ethics?


 It has come to a stage where the media is asking to  be monitored and controlled by external agencies through its acts of commission. The time has possibly come for a re-look at the Broadcasting Bill, at least in issues relating to such irresponsible behaviour from the media. The recent one month ban on Live India TV which was shown to be a fake seems to be the first step in this direction. Isn’t it time for the television industry especially, to come together, and chart out a course of action that should clearly reflect its maturity and sense of responsibility?  Hopefully, the ban on Live India will be a deterrent for all such erring channels, which have crossed the thin line between right and wrong, between a venomous and  a non-poisonous sting.


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