Media n Mumbai Rains

Dilip wrote,

I commented: �Interesting that you should pose the same question that I and my friend have been arguing about on chat for the past hour.

I dont think any layperson would take the trouble to let the media channel know, it has been playing dirty by reusing old footage. The ones who do will in all probability never find their letter featured on letters to editor or the channel.

Ethics does matter but only to the few nicompoops like me who wring our hands in despair and crib about how media can be so manipulative and feel ashamed to be part of the bandwagon. Then I remind myself at least I am not like that, read your blog and feel good there are still some for whom ethics matter.

All this sure got me in the mood to write now. Read my blog for more on this.�


I went to Bombay on Saturday by bus of course. The trains had decided not to venture into unknown waters. Despite a sleepless night aboard the bus, I reached Vashi in record time. The Pune-Bombay Express Highway was strangely at its best; no traffic, smooth roads. Except for the bumpy ride as I neared Taloja road and Kharghar, I had no issues. It continually rained but wasn�t very different from the usual Bombay rains. Once at home I switched the TV on and saw mayhem. Drowned cars, homes and people; loss of lives, livestock, property and mental peace. I looked out the window again, all was well here, but apparently somewhere else in Bombay it was not. Except the brown muddy water that came from the taps (when it did come), and some minor electricity cut hours, nothing seemed amiss. But the images had got to me and I spent the day subdued talking over and over with all about. One family friend came home to a floating fridge, most couldn�t go home, one cousins spent the night walking, another spent the night in the car, some relatives furniture was destroyed. Luckily no-one was the worse off for it.

The next four days I was amazed by the same images flashing repeatedly on the screen.
The rains in Bombay had calmed down by a great degree, but the news images showed no sign of letting up. Mahesh Bhatt wandered around on some TV channel asking people about their experiences, someone�s home in Juhu and a producer who has incurred a big loss. Eh? And then there were others who focused only on the low lying areas which get flooded every single year. News papers and channels mourned about Mumbai�s demise with the rains as the next shangai and golden city. Let Mumbai be please! That much of rainfall could throw Shangai into disarray. Channels kept repeating their footage of people rowing in boats even when the downpour grew into a drizzle. Look closely people, someone was walking in calf height water as these guys rowed by! Are we truly that foolish? Apparently we are.

A friend (J) and me have been having a healthy arguing for the past hour about media and manipulations, about objective reporting and biased journalism. Most people do not question what is being offered to them. They accept what they see as truth. The images in the TV resulted in many offlines/ SMS�s to me asking me if I was ok. People couldn�t believe that Mumbai was ok because the TV stations would give up. It would be wishful thinking wouldn�t it to hope that media moves beyond the moolah. Unfortunately most programming today by news channels resembles a real-life soap opera, which highlights a lot and focuses on nothing.

I asked J to define news for me. Now suddenly I am at a loss about what news is and journalism is. Gangadhar Sir, taught with great emphasis Principles of Journalism and ethics in journalism during my PG. Am reminded of the passion in his voice and the rush I felt. Objective journalism, unbiased reporting, ethical writing: all are mere terms with no real value? Sometimes though it does seem like a futile fight by a few to voice what is easily drowned in the advertising and competing chaos, I beg to differ. I am sure to give a damn hard try to stick to some principles which many believe are useless in this world today. Call me old-fashioned, but can�t change the way I feel.

4 thoughts on “Media n Mumbai Rains

  1. Todays world lives for sensational news. And I belive today there is no news more sensational than the Mumbai rains. So it is obvious that things are going to be exagerated a lot. But that’s the way of the world, which we ourselves have helped devise. So lets not blame just the Media people and take the blame on us too…

  2. findingnemo, I wish I was senselessly blaming some sector I was not connected with. But as a writer and freelance journalist, I am part of this group. But yes I never have and never will resort to blowing the truth out of proportion.

    Again , I agree that the way of the world is that everything is exaggerated today and the Mumbai rains were sensational. But isnt news about objective reporting. They r not films!

    And yes, I admit I’d rather watch images of the rain though I know are false or repeated, than see many media channel make fools of themselves with their inquisitive curiosity about what happens in Karishma Kapoor’s life! I cant help but with they’d give her and me a break!

  3. bang on, Anita. I’ve been out of Bombay for the last couple of weeks – and been watching the coverage of the rains on tv – and I never knew what the real scene was like – friends in Bombay I called / chatted with a few days after the rain said that things were returning to normal and that the rains had slowed down – but that’s never how it seemed on tv…

  4. I was living close to Washington DC. The day when twin towers went down and the Pentagon was hit, I got phone calls and IM from friends asking how I was.

    I was okay. But I was not okay; emotionally I was not okay. Of course, I was so close to the areas that were hit and it was difficult for to me while watching the images on TV being played over and over.

    If I was living somewhere else in the world, when I saw the news, I would want to find out my friend who was living in DC or NY if he/she was okay. Because I had no clue where EXACTLY my friend was located except that he/she was close to the disaster.

    My housemates girl friend was just about to take a bus to go home as London bombing took place more than one month ago. He called her up and asked her NOT to take any buses and indeed there was a bus being blown up too in the same day. In this case, news did bring some comfort and reassurance for some people as they could reach out to their love ones.

    Therefore, it is understandable if someone who cares about you sends you messages and inquires about your well being. The news report might have been going haywire about the content and rating is always the first concern. Therefore, news report does play a very tricky role in reporting events; if all is quiet in the western front, then a small storm could become the largest hit in the century. If there was a major event that was taking place somewhere, then the largest storm in the century could be easily ignored.

    So we don’t hear how many starving children are dying in the news and we don’t read the headlines about some people being killed or abused in some remote countries.

    Where do you begin to report and what will you be covering? Where is the line drawn and how you separate truth from fiction? How do you know you are being objective and others are not? Who makes all these judgments?–>

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close