Information Overdose - Sachi Shiksha

The Indian media is known globally and is a topic of attraction for researchers, professionals, investors and the common men. Still it seems we are not having enough of the television. Up till the start of twenty first century there was only one channel Doordarshan was available on the television sets. But now scene is completely different, Information is Overloaded.

How Many Channels are there?

Till date there are 900+ channels except 32 Doordarshan channels that are authorized for telecast from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, among which are 400+ news channels. New channels pop out daily posing a salient question regarding the significance of such numerous channels for the people that are watching it as well as for the broadcasting industry. What is the requirement of such numerous channels and why is the Ministry permitting it, whether it signifies to provide a better choice for the viewers or a healthier broadcast sector.

Approval of Channels

The presence of a large number of channels may be directed to the approval of TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) in 2010 from the Ministry according to which there was a removal of the block on total number of private satellite channels for the purpose of up-linking or down-linking of channels in India.

For many decades various worldwide and national broadcasters are working in India and the field is invaded by many new companies. The companies that were approved with permission for broadcast comprise national and international media houses, political leaders, major business houses and numerous private companies.The varied number of partnerships and joint ventures  has made the scenario much chaotic.

Before the inception of channels about two decades ago the time allotted to the channels for broadcasting the news was about one hour in a day. But now this scene has altered into a 24/7 broadcasting of news. This type of day and night broadcast of news enabled people to be aware of what is happening all over the world and upgrade their knowledge. Through its firm steps in order to ascertain overall transparency in the government the news channels are believed to strengthen the democracy of our country.

Those in power of governance are feared by the power of these news channels as they strive to represent the public and take the responsibility on behalf of citizens to question the authorities. The daily news is presented by news readers that have a charming personality and is presented in an interesting manner. Those who found the news to be boring and uninteresting to watch some couple of years back, now find it interesting to watch.

Disadvantages of Information Overload

Besides the positive points provided by these numerous news channels, the negative points are also there. Each and every news is exaggerated by the news channels and the trend of breaking news is the worst. In order to raise the Target Rating Point (TRP) even the irrelevant piece of news is sensationalized thus causing undesired panic among the viewers. The specific emphasis is given to the negative news like crime and horrific incidents etc creating a negative influence among the masses.

The information and news that one watches and intakes creates a deep impact on one`s perception of happiness and security. The manipulation of the minds of the viewers is yet another problem posed by the channels. Many channels that broadcast news opt for the paid news in order to earn more and fast money. Specifically during times of elections the phenomenon of paid news is on the all time high which in turn gives rise to distrust for these channels. Besides some of the major political parties have their own news channels and broadcast biased news thereby influencing the voters.

The news channels play the role of investigators at the crime spots showing and explaining all the aspects of the crime in minutest details. It becomes the main reason of influence for the individuals with a distorted and criminal mind providing them with the knowledge of how the crime and the process is carried  out successfully.

So the news helps the criminals rather than the common men. These crime news are so frequently telecast and emphasized to such an extent that there dwells a feeling of insecurity among the people and the disbelief for everyone is accelerated as they start to believe that majority of people are criminals and that they and their families are not safe anywhere. During the times of communal riots or any friction between two communities the news is broadcast again and again. In addition to the news an open debate is also initiated among the leading representatives of those communities which become a reason for the increased hatred instead of soothing the atmosphere.

Role of Journalists

The role played by the journalist or the news correspondent nowadays is not only that of providing the news impartially rather he has to evaluate the news and that too in a sensationalizing manner making the visual impact of the news to be strong. There is literally a war of the news bulletins with other entertainment shows for the slot of prime time.

The news channel that shows the news items relating to topics such as poverty, famine, war, crime against women are capable of inducing the contemplation into the viewers. But the impact of a negative news conveyed just for the sake of sensationalizing it is very much wider in comparison to when the news is conveyed in a neutral manner.

Every channel is competing for advertisement so as to survive the expenses of the distribution. Because of the expensive distribution costs either some channels closed down or are taken over. Although the permissions for the channels are granted by the ministry, the gains of the citizens in this matter are still not clearly visible that can either be better choice, or better quality programming or better service.

The news broadcast on all the news channels is the same and repetitive. The thoughtful and meaningful innovative ideas and the experimentation that are with relevance to the citizens is yet awaited by the Indian television.

Ashwini Bhat

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