Saturday, 6 February 2010

Times of India is becoming immature

Swami Gulagulaananda slapped his forehead and said:
"Corrupt or stupid media being followed by a billion yes-men is not a great combination"

This is with regard to an article that came on the newspaper Times of India (TOI), dated 5th February. There is a certain article against the Sri Rama Sene (SRS), where the newspaper has published a series of comments of various readers, including "famous" people like Prasad Bidapa. By posting something that most people like to hear, there are not many voices against it.

What I find interesting about that article, is that there was not a single post which spoke with a pro side of the organisation. All the comments that were posted there were anti SRS. Now I am sure that you will have the thought saying - "Ha, come on Nik, who the hell is even pro SRS? They are a bunch of thugs who beat up random people just to show power..." Ok, let's take this argument and keep it aside for a moment. Till today, I don't think apart from the SRS, nobody else has justified their actions. However, it will be very interesting to note that a lot of people continue to feel that their motives were pretty strong.

What I am trying to say is - For example, there are a lot of people who feel that moral policing is wrong. They say that each has his or her own life, and they can live it the way they want to. At the same time, we also have very popular shows like 'emotional atyachar' - and the surprising thing is, when people see the hotshot guy on the show cheating on his girl friend with a large number of girls having a series of one-night-stands, people actually cover their aghast open mouth with their hands, rather than putting their feet in it. I don't understand the double standards. It's his life, so he's living the way he wants to - It's the same set of people who say that that the guy has no morality.

Who decides what is moral and what is immoral? That's totally left to you and the society. There are some things that are not appreciated in the society. Otherwise, what's wrong in showing public display of affection, canoodling, snogging, making out, or even humping in public? Their life, and they do what they want to. What's wrong in walking nude on the road? Apparently, it's not allowed, and are actually punishable offences. There're always some restrictions to be drawn. And these restrictions should come from within. We were actually shown certain disgraceful, distasteful dances involving a lot of touching in a lot of places by a lot of strangers to a lot of people (I would've said women, but I didn't want to risk being branded as sexist)

Till today, I have not understood what is the big deal about Valentine's day, mother's day, father's day and so on. Sure, it's a lot of fun - but the concept is totally ridiculous and has nothing to do with us. The best part is, nobody even knows why the hell it's celebrated. At least 60% of the people will not even know that Valentine was the name of a Saint. All they see is - Hey, people in the West are doing it, so should we... Otherwise, you think for a moment, do we really need a special day to show our parents or sweethearts that we love them? You can have it on any day, or have a special day on a more relevant day like an anniversary or birthday or some day which means something to you personally, and not a day where people do it in large numbers.

Let's get some facts straight - I don't support or endorse SRS' action. Here's the result of a huge argument that culminated in another very interesting post. I do strongly support an anti pub-culture and anti-liquor movement which I have earlier mentioned, which needs to be strengthened especially after the recent Nooria accident case - which I had told about long back. I strongly oppose media becoming biased, and publishing only what they "feel" is right - media should have no personal opinions, and should only reflect the opinions of ALL people, and not the select few yes-men. I am saying this, because I have sent many mails to TOI earlier which are against their view, and not a single point do they get publish. [Oh p.s. I am not against TOI because they don't publish my opinions :P Thanks] In fact, I find that most of the comments posted are the ones that they strongly endorse.

Times of India continues to be a newspaper of immense hype, but I think I will reserve another post for writing about them...

And to add insult to injury, now I need to see photos and ridiculous comments of people like Prasad Bidapa who himself was caught with drugs - and read HIS comments on "morality". Oh, of course, mea culpa, it's his life, and he can lead it however he wants to!

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Note added on 23rd April, 2011:
A beautiful post by someone where he exposes NDTV and Barkha Dutt, and shows how the media is truly biased and how they fake tweets to support their views
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Comments from Facebook pasted as is: [Since it is part of the same debate]

Nikhil Baliga: Times of India shows how immature it is as a newspaper, by publishing a series of strong comments against Sri Rama Sene, and not publishing their opinions. As a newspaper medium, one should be impartial and show both sides of the coin. Otherwise what's the difference between TOI and Samana of Shiv Sena, if you publish one sided opinions?

Sudarshan V Murthy, Pradyumna Bharadwaj, Dolly Singh and 3 others like this.

Mithun R Shroff
It was the "My Times My Voice " section..So they were just echoing the public opinion..And also the means used by Sri Rama Sene to get their message across was absolutely shocking. So even if this is the stand taken by TOI , I would say it is fair.

Nikhil Baliga
No, I disagree - it's not a public opinion, if there are no two sides - even a movie like Avatar had people who liked it and hated it. There may millions who loved it, but there were a handful who hated it - It's never complete if you don't post two sides. Read this post and a linked post to see more of what I mean...

http://lifeasiknowit-nik.blogspot.com/2010/02/times-of-india-is-becoming-immature.html

Karthik Rangarajan
He just hates TOI, so he's biased anyway. :P

Ashrith Kumar
Its not just TOI man...All the news channels these days are so biased,..I get a feeling, communism to them means anti-Hinduism,..

Aks
For ppl who don't know - Let me clarify!!

Nik has some age-old rivalry with TOI .. he even wrote out a mail to TOI once regarding somethin(i don't remember the topic) ..
he's posting all this cos he s so frustrated that TOI didn't give him bhaav..
...
@nik - dude, every1 knows u r a male chauvinist .. so u ll support SRS..(yeah, yeah.. i read ur blog before posting this!! :P).. I think TOI is being sensible and posting only comments that 'make sense'.. and not posting things that are pro - this way, they r trying to discourage SRS in their violent attacks.. Isn't it the social responsibility of the media to try and portray what is right(i know its debatable but when there is violence on one side and peace on the other - peace is surely the way to go!) and not support such scurrilous acts? ..

Arvind S Murthy
well its completely true any good newspaper will defnitely have for and against columns...thats the basis of a debate isnt it?? whats the point of having a debate or conducting a survey if all you do is print arguments which are just one side of a coin...

and i doubt if TOI really has any "social responsibility"...if it did it would not have glorified gossip...how is that in the interest of the society??? so i completely agree with the blog if u want to be biased do not conduct a survey..simple...

obviously what the SRS are doin is not right no doubts there...but the thing is what the media is doing is just turning the masses against the SRS..so it will be "violence" on both sides and "peace" will die a bloody death

Sriranga Chidambara
The writer of a newspaper echoes his opinion in his articles. A newspaper need not have to forcefully find the 'other side of the coin' and portray it.

How would one react to say "A 14 year girl was raped by a man". Should we try to look at the other side??

Why don't you start looking pubs as a 2 sided coin? :)

Aditya Padaki
The debate goes on... :P :D.

Personally, I see SRS as no great saviour of moral values in India... I feel, they are just another group who want cheap publicity (God knows for what)... Thats completely justified (being a publicity monger is no crime)... but the methods employed itself are immoral and ridiculous. Speaking of their "ideology"... well it'll be appreciated... But if they themselves break law by taking it in their own hands, one question stands out: Who in the world are they or who in the world gave them the rights to do moral policing? Let them inculcate their "ideology" in a much better civilised manner.

But, a larger question... What they portray to be their ideology is no doubt good and methods employed are hopeless... But, are these really their ideologies? Are they really out there to save our culture? Do they themselves practice these? Are they well versed with Indian culture? May be.. but the chances of "No" being an answer are much higher... ...

Reg. Drinking: Drinking has been there in India probably since time immemorial... Its not a culture that has been imbibed from west.. but yes its really really bad and needs to be curbed. Ban drinking-I am all for it... may not be just coz of Nooria or more such people, but many more reasons leading to a fact that drunkards can be potential social menaces (Yeah yeah... i know ppl may argue NOT all drunkards are menaces... majority of them are very stable and such stuff.. there are only 1 or 2 instances of Nooria... But, its still bad for health :P)

Speaking of TOI: Well, what they do (again according to me) is another kind of publicity gimmick. They sell what people want... At the end of the day what they are interested in is just the number of copies sold. I find certain acts of TOI over hyped (Lead India, Aman Ki Asha etc.) and sometimes ridiculous. So, we need to take what they publish with a pinch of salt (same to other newspapers and media as well :P)..

So bottom line: I think both SRS and TOI are just baking their own beans and nothing more... :P

WHOOPS! It became so loooooong :P....

Sriranga Chidambara
Well said Padaki.

Come to think of it, I wonder why Nik still reads TOI :P

Bharath Srivatsa
@Nik: totally disagree with you...a news paper has to echo whats good for the society...else even terrorists will want their "opinions" and their "side" of the story to be published after heinous attacks like 26/11

Aditya Padaki
@Ranga: Lol! Yeah... Nik, why do u still read TOI? :D :D.

I just found a couple of grammatical errors in my comment. Sorry.. :P

Arvind S Murthy
ok first of all i think the point of a debate is grossly misunderstood here..let me start with your example of a rape...

A news article will probably go along the lines of what you've said-"A fourteen year old was raped"

whereas a debate will be along the lines of-"ANother rape in the city..Are our cities safe? or Are the police doing enough?"...

The former doesnt give any room for public opinion that is as you said the publishers opinion..whereas the latter gives room for both the sides of a coin...

Now coming to the issue of pubs..it is already a two sided coin...Baliga's bane is that TOI is being biased in what was supposed to be a debate...

The question is what is good for the society???how is that defined???? Agreed terrorism is not good for the society..but how can you explain alcoholism as being good for the society???

The violence of SRS is something to be denounced really...That is something really not good for the society...

Karthik Rangarajan
Wow, Nik's bias against TOI has led to such a big debate?

@Akshata You're spot on about the mail he sent to TOI. It was about some column in Bangalore Times, I remember talking to him about it.

@Ranga He just wants to write blog articles against them. I really see no other reason. :P

Mithun R Shroff
@Nikhil : Agree that TOI dint publish even a single comment that maybe was pro SRS. But look at this way..When there is something happening and its not right , it definitely has to be opposed . I'm sure there is no one ( other than the ones involved ) who will try to justify the methods used by SRS.

When a newspaper conducts a survey , it publishes (supposed to) comments by giving equal weightage to both sides of the issue. But when the vast majority are against the issue , they are not left with any choice. I'm guessing this is what happened with that article. I say this because I have observed a lot of times the stand taken by TOI on any issue. I dint feel it is biased in any way.

Also ..take for example a terrorist attack ..Find me one newspaper which will include atleast one line printed in favour of it. you wouldnt find it. Thats exactly is the case here too.....

@Akshata : I second your thoughts on this..

Anup P Mutalik
If TOI had written something pro-SRS i would have probably cribbed!. since its a national medium and they shouldn't send wrong messages!
Even expecting an article in a news paper to have a non-bigoted opinions on such matter, is silly! :p

Anand Bhatia
Times Of India is a NEWSPAPER?

Mac Nirmal Lobo
totally agree with you pal. newspapers are supposed to be unbiased. Hence they should present the negative crass views of the SRS even if the majority of our populace do not agree with them . I think nik, u should form an anti TOI group on facebook and bring out their biggest shortcoming since they havent published the other side of the wonderful heart warming organization that SRS is.

Mac Nirmal Lobo
poor SRS chaps. They never got to air their peaceful views .

Nikhil Baliga
It's nice to see so many different approaches to the same problem. I am in Mangalore with not frequent access to the internet, thus the late reply. However here's my opinion about it. Incidentally when I wrote the blog post and the fb status update, I had taken all these points into account

@Akshata - I knew someone like you would come along to say that - that's precisely why I had already included that line about this not being my way of getting back at TOI in my post.

I think Arvind got it right. I have clearly written everywhere that nobody supports the actions of SRS. You see, my point is that, everyone needs to follow certain procedures - This is why even terrorists like Kasab are being given an opportunity to defend themselves. I know Kasab is wrong, and he deserves to be given the death sentence. But still, law needs to take its course. He is given an opportunity to defend himself. This is what I am saying about SRS - While nobody supports the actions of hitting, an opportunity to post their views need to be given. An argument or debate is never complete, if you don't have more than one side.

Nikhil Baliga
@Ranga - I am not talking about news articles... News articles are those where pure facts are given, more like the "white hat" of the six thinking hats (which I recommend to all you guys, very nice book). That's a forum which a newspaper employs to write out facts, not opinions. So rape and terror *news* articles don't come under this.

Mithun also has a good point - Since most people have the same views, it's highly probable that most of the views are anti- SRS. However, I have already taken this into account. This is why I said that even a movie like Avatar which has a million plus fans still has a few hundreds who support it. You can take any thing and you will see people having a divided opinion about it. For example, just imagine if I delete all posts which disagree with me. Then all you can see here, are posts which agree with mine. That's hardly a complete argument. You don't know if TOI has done that - They may have done it to keep a lot of people from getting worked up, like some here :P

That's why I am saying that you should post both views - Again, I am not saying post pro-SRS, but try to understand what they or any other person is saying without having any bias.

Nikhil Baliga
Many people get wrongly accused or branded as bad. If opinions of theirs are muffled, you will never know the truth. Imagine if a person is innocent, and everyone in the media is shouting against him - All people will simply blindly follow the media, and everyone will think he's evil. Remember 'Phir bhi dil hain hindustani' ? Therefore, you should be unbiased, and allow everything to go through. Not everything is exactly as you see it

To summarise, any thing that you see, should be looked at without bias. Although some of you have posted stuff making blatant accusations, my point is to look at it without bias, without looking at it having SRS as the central picture, but as any other issue... All issues have two sides, and both sides should be posted. If a powerful entity such as media starts becoming biased, then I won't be surprised if Supreme Court or any other court judges get biased and pass judgements without listening to the other side. It just isn't fair. :P If you still didn't get it, I am not saying be nice to SRS to be fair. I am saying, present both sides of the argument.

Sriranga Chidambara
It's a newspaper not a court of law!

Prashanth N Bhat
@ashrith, not communism, secularism

Prashanth N Bhat
A newspaper (or any other media for that matter) should have both sides of an arguement, its not for them to decide who is right or who is wrong, it is for the . Just publishing one side of a story means that they are endorsing it, which is not their function. Otherwise what is the difference between our country and china, where media is strictly controlled to give only information that is suitable to its govt.

Although what SRS is doing may be wrong, any views that it, or anybody who feels there is some justification should be allowed to air their views, @nik, your example of Kasab here was spot on. Won't we be practising double standards when we hold a trial for kasab, and allow him to defend himself, and stifle any pro SRS views?

Nikhil Baliga
@Ranga - My point precisely, it's not a court of law, and thus they should not pass judegements. You post information and facts. That's why I like their column where they have "Times View" and "Counter View" and this is in Times of India itself. There, TOI and a guest author write their view points about the same article.

Prashanth Bhat has explained the rest perfectly above

Ashvin Srinivasan
I completely agree with baliga , TOI is indeed immature. The media is suppose to be just showing the actual,impartial facts. Its just lke russel peters said in his episode of "red white and brown"( :P), this TOI is trying to impose us with their views rather than leaving the discretery power to us .
" SRS may be wrong and may be doing some irrational stuff." Thats left for us to decide not them.

Nikhil Baliga
Haha, yeah, I remember Russel Peters - They show a bomb blast, and an Arab and say - What do you think? :D

4 comments:

Mithun said...

Hey..I totally agree with your thoughts on father's day , mother's day etc..I seriously dont understand the need of these days..Wonder whats the origin ..

pruth said...

Awesomely written! i endorse your opinion!

Raghav Gali said...

Isn't India an a sweep of westernization?
I definitely agree that a lot of western beliefs have been blindly adopted..
What's great about valentines day?
May be that that society embraces openness about expression of love. To most part it is a day when people have a lot of fun.. acknowledge love. Even kids share presents with their friends:)
So what's so bad about a particular form of expression?
And why a great mess about cultural relevance?

Raghav Gali said...

Isn't India an a sweep of westernization?
I definitely agree that a lot of western beliefs have been blindly adopted..
What's great about valentines day?
May be that the western society embraces openness about expression of love. To most part it is a day when people have a lot of fun.. acknowledge love. Even kids share presents with their friends:)
So what's so bad about a particular form of expression?
And why a great mess about cultural relevance?