incomplete picture of the crisis


There are about 400 news channels in the country. Despite this, when it comes to the credibility and accuracy of news, people trust newspapers more. Why is it like this? Why has the TV news industry not been able to establish its credibility among the viewers in the last two decades? The question is also how much interest is the audience in watching serious issues related to public interest? After the arrival of online news websites, the crisis on TV news channels has increased further. Barring exceptions, their financial condition is very weak. They have to depend on advertising for resources. They have to work under the pressure of market and political power. Debt-ridden NDTV CEO Prannoy Roy had to sell his channel to Adani Group last year. Many renowned journalists including Ravish Kumar submitted their resignations.

Vinay Shukla’s documentary ‘Namaskar, Main Ravish Kumar’ has not been formally screened in the country yet. Even though these documentary films made in India recently have been discussed in film festivals in the country and abroad, documentary producers and directors always have to be in search of audiences and distributors. However, as the name suggests, the center of this documentary is Ravish Kumar, a television journalist and star-anchor who has been associated with NDTV India for almost 25 years. This documentary makes his journalism and life struggle amidst the resonance of political ideology and nationalism its subject. The documentary is also a sharp commentary on the workings of the TV news industry. Power, whether political or religious, never likes questions. In a democratic system, media persons question the government as representatives of the public. Ravish Kumar’s journalism has also involved questioning the powers that be, for which he has had to suffer the consequences. India has started being called the ‘Mother of Democracy’ in the country and abroad. If the media is not free in the world’s largest and oldest democracy, it points towards a crisis in democracy. Today it is not easy to pursue the profession of journalism.

India ranks 161 among 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index. Still, despite the crisis, there are many professional journalists who stay away from glamor and risk their lives to bring the truth to the society. In the year 2019, the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, while giving the award, had described Ravish Kumar’s journalism as ‘the voice of the voiceless while remaining loyal to the truth’. In Hindi television journalism, where the emphasis is on entertainment and sensation, loyalty to truth seems to have been left far behind. This documentary seems incomplete and scattered in its impact. There are many questions, for example how NDTV got burdened with debt, there is no comment on this. For a complete picture, the relationship between capitalism and media also needs to be questioned.

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