Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Even Porn and Prostitution for TRPs?

Here’s the story that had the Indian capital agog with rumors and speculation. A television channel broke the story about a teacher in a school forcing girls into prostitution and into acting in porn films. The police found no incriminating evidence, and it now turns out that the television channel was taken for a nice drive by some tele-journalist in a mad frenzy for a scoop. No, not only the tele-journalist was fooled, the print journalists, too, followed suit by publishing unconfirmed reports based on hearsay. The crowning disappointment of it all, as journalists would themselves say: NO STORY.

I have been seeing this sort of frenzy for some time now starting with the child Prince, who was trapped in an earthly dungeon of some sort. The media gave the rescue of the child live coverage and the nation was glued to the television. Of course, the TRPs would have gone up considerably for the channels concerned. Then followed stories about a child who enjoys a drink every evening with his father, a child who is apparently reincarnated and identifies who killed him in his early life, all centering around some child or the other. Dammit, all these for those bloody Television Ranting Points (TRP, my own coinage)?

Recently around 200 farmers committed suicide in the Vidharba region of Maharashtra. The issue of BT Cotton and hybrid seeds is festering and affecting a lot of farmers, and nobody seems to be bothered to report it. When Magsaysay Award winning author P Sainath tried to bring it up in a discussion in a literary show, he was cut short, too bluntly. No camera teams reached Vidharba, because it is difficult to report such news. After all, such news has no immediate TRP value.

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