Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sorry, Commander Glusica

My contempt for most of the Indian news channels reached epic proportions today, watching the coverage of the plane crash. I watched the story unfold over an hour or so in the morning, and what they said at the top of the hour, they contradicted at the bottom, simply because they just wanted to talk - ignorantly, incessantly - whether they had any knowledge or not. It was all irresponsible mob mentality, confusion of facts and ghoulish rubbernecking rather providing useful information - hotline numbers were not broadcast until several hours after, nor were the names of passengers. It's night now, and there's been no mention of the crew at all.

The cameras actually followed a woman being wheeled into the operating theatre. She was in shock, could not speak and added nothing to the news report, if you can call an orgy of speculation news. There was sharp contrast between the visuals of rescuers grimly carrying away charred bodies and the squeaky sounds of excitable newscasters poking at "experts" trying to get somebody to place blame somewhere. The "facts" that were being presented changed from one channel to another, even the immutable ones such as the number of people on board, the nationality of pilot and the names of the few survivors who were talking on screen.

The worst of all was the swooping down on the nationality of the pilot. I happened to be online when one newscaster finally had the courtesy to pronounce his name properly, so I typed it out into Google. Commander Zlatko Glusica - apart from being an experienced pilot who's flown this route many times, contrary to what they'd spent all morning trying to get us to believe - happens to have had three children. I'm sure it's fun for them to have their bereavement crowned by the barely disguised witch hunt being conducted on TV. The most racist race on earth is eager to find the "foreign pilot" guilty by virtue of his foreign-ness. Because, of course, all Indian pilots are vested with Vedic superpowers that can not only control the bursting of a tyre from the cockpit, but also extend runways and fill up gorges in nanoseconds through sheer yogic will.

Even if investigations show that it was, after all, an avoidable pilot error, today's TV channels are still in the wrong. 160 people died, the names in the passenger manifesto convey sad stories of whole families wiped out, of a lone parent clearly left behind on one or the other side of the flight - the solitude of Dubai's annual summer migration made permanent, of young men suddenly gone. But very little hush or respect was evident in the broadcast press, not even of the fake variety. There ought to be a law.

11 comments:

Kunal Malik said...

Indian media is the worst of it's kind. This mad race for TRPs has made it stoop down to such a level that it has a callous indifference to the sensitivities involved. Coming up with their own versions of what happened supported with weird animations in a bid to out run the "competitors". And the worst part is that they never learn. They did'nt after Mumbai. They won't now. A Bill on appropriate media conduct ??

Anonymous said...

I have to agree, the Indian media is loosing its credibility day by day, barring few English news channels of course. In fact these so called news channels have merely becomes sources of "entertainment". Most of the news channel present the viewers with their own illogical, half-baked opinions rather than true facts. Sad affair indeed.

akshaya alva said...

Akshaya
I agree with u am from the place where this crash happened...media just over exaggerate the things without proper investigation come to false conclusion.. Capt Z.Glusica and co pilot Capt. H.H Ahaluwallia have also expired in this disaster along with other 158 people I am sure peoople who r actually responsible will get away with ease n because of the corrupt govt.institution in this country..
As a responsible citizen of this country lets not fall for these false conclusion.. time may tell us as what actually happened...R.I.P may god bless peace to all 158 people who expired in disaster and may him bestow peace and strength to the families

the real nick said...

That's a good topic: TV news in India.
As the proud owner of an under-the-Karama-counter subscription to 'dish TV' I have full access to Indian TV, inculding NDTV, CNN IBN, Times Now etc etc. (even a Guthy Renker shopping channel; WHO is this Guthy Renker?) I really believe the new Indian media wants to out-america America. FOX couldn't hold a candle to those news channels. They are in-yer-face sensationalist and crass beyond belief and the presenters positively scream at the camera. I get palpitations just from watching it. Luckily there are plenty of shampoo and skin whitening cream commercials to provide intermittent relaxation...
Another problem is that, contrary to American TV, the presenters are generally ugly, uncouth and dressed wihtout any taste whatsoever. And don't remind me of those ticker tapes reporting the minutiae of internal BJP power broking or cricket scores.

Can I say, as interested outsider, that the Americanisation of India is producing the worst of both worlds?

tilopinion said...

Well, the Indian news channels aided and abetted terrorists during the Mumbai attacks. So this offence of defaming the foreign pilot seems to pale in comparison, sarcastically speaking. This is the darkest hour of Indian news channels. Hope we live to see better days!

achan said...

CORRECT mina, Watching some of the indian news channels from here, my blood was boiling. Frustration at nothing I can do to stop them was another thing. Whatever the fault, whom so ever the fault, this was a tragedy that faced kerala and Karnataka. Instead of rallying around the grief stricken the TV news channels were vying with each other to make it more gruesome. Even God cannot help us.
Achan (from Singapore Camp)

Tys on Ice said...

the whole thing just sucks. I have stopped watching news of any kind. Dont read newspaper either. When something catostrophic does happen, I guess I will know it when I see people running.

Whole familes were wiped out in this crash. Children who had finished school and going for admission to manipal...

Poornima said...

Rambled here from Tys' blog..i love the way you write!

Totally agree with your post btw..the news has finally become a Bollywood movie.

Great job! :-)

shalini said...

something similar happened during 26/11 & finally there was a movement called "Small change",where a petition was filed by a well known film person, this incident only confirms the absolute callousness of the media despite the fancy words they use..the less said about the regional ones the better..suddenly everyone is an expert on aviation..the guy from Times now Arnab loves putting words in mouth
& the others have a standard "so what do you feel about this"this when the person is practically unconscious or devastated by loss
I think the only way to control these so called protectors of society is to have a law that protects us from them..they get away by being holier than thou ..read "we have a duty to inform the public"

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Vimal said...

If i had a penny for every time I wanted to put a shotgun to an ndtv reporter's head and atomise her brain in a misty spray...

Clarity is good. i like your blog.

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