Wednesday, August 02, 2017

News is shit!

New is shit nowadays. Ain't it?

I can't understand the need for sensible human beings to sell and pimp their judgement to suit the fancies of the news channels and other sources.

This might sound quite insulting and offensive to many heroic members who take part in passing judgement or forwarding news-based content over the social media and also among their circles.

But I propose this offensive path purely for the purpose of catching the attention of such people, so that I can ask them to first learn to scrutinize news content and the way sources portray news.

What is so wrong or bad in the way news is served?

Lets try to find and write em down. Shall we?

a) News is supposed to be reporting of events based on recorded facts. It shouldn't be making news in the first place. Most news channels, in order to bring exclusive content, select scoop news that has good chances of increasing TRP temporarily. In order to form a good story, many reporters make a good story and fit the facts to suit it. All this sounds fine as long as they do not sell it as news. It should be marketed as 'inspired by real incidents' and be played as a short movie. That provides the entertainment value intended by the news channel, and they get their required TRP too. And no one has a problem with fake news.

b) News sources making judgements not found in the recorded facts. This is the increasing trend which most members of the audience fail to grasp. Though a judgemental article makes for an excellent click-bait and brings good readership/response in social media, it is making a mockery of journalism and its core purpose. Everyone knows that being judgemental is an exciting position for the one who is judging, but the one who is being judged directly or indirectly is being dealt with unfairly. Judgemental individuals can be a pain in the ass based on their reach. So when a news network itself is intentionally judgemental, supported by scores of fans, expert panels, shrewd show hosts and eloquent speakers, the common man's cry for sensible, unbiased facts goes unheard.

c) News sources are off late being very selective in news reporting, indicating their political or business affiliations. Due to the two points above, warring sides can throw news channels and reports against each other with differing sequence of events for the same set of facts. These practices splits the audiences against channels that give undue importance to topics they dislike and pick out wrongs in things they are interested in. Now we have a large ecosystem of divided audience who are blind to any facts presented by the media source that is against their interests. This destroys the credibility that any party wishes to bring forth using the massive reach of these channels. They have all basically spoilt their reputation by splitting ways with unbiased journalism.

d) Influencers who control the news media using political means or financial means are the modern bane of media houses. Coming under attack for the 3 points above, if any individual decides to move away from mainstream techniques above, they are guaranteed to have a bad time. Once a third front opens with unbiased news, it takes only a sentient population to realize the imaginary worlds created by the mainstream media. As long as intelligent news consumers exist in the ecosystem, it is the need of the tycoons to ensure that such independent sources do not rise up to prominence. The techniques used to stall their growth ranges from persuasion,coercion,public humiliation,trapping into losing credibility, starting smear campaigns etc to using political and financial muscle to subdue such sources. This is by far the largest reason for the mainstream media to continue in the same fashion, though the number of media houses keep rising every fiscal.

e) Each media house, as explained above represents a set of ideals, supports selective bigwigs and shuns certain others. In such conditions, the fan following is split for such houses based on their individual preferences. Quite similar to how political party members support their party leaders through thick and thin irrespective of what they personally think about their actions, these fans forget their own personal stances and start worshiping their media houses. They also take up the role of attacking rival houses, defending their house and its ideals against rivals and/or random independent critics. The techniques used for attacking can range from simple arguments using facts,ranting incoherently,taunting etc to participating in smear campaigns using memes and spreading libel. It is quite sad at this point that the very same audience which is being cheated by the media houses and their bigwigs puts out so much of its time and energy on these petty fights instead of fighting to bring real facts out.

News is an entertainment now for many, and it is a source of money for many others. In between that, the lives of people who rely on the reported news being corrected is not really in focus, unless by sheer luck it also happens to bring in good TRP ratings. You would have to convince the media house's manager about this and also need to bring all houses into an agreement if you really want to reap the benefits. Otherwise you'd end up being either torn down or be worshiped albeit temporarily, until they find another juicy piece of news to follow.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Living under a rock

It is when you are involved in a task that usually your mind conjures up strange stuff, the shower thoughts being immensely popular already.

It was during one such moment that I thought of someone who might have been living under a rock for the last one year. If that person( here its myself ) comes out and gets back into civilized life,certain aspects would need a detailed explanation by those around.

I would definitely be surprised by the lowered rates at which I'd be getting mobile internet in India, thanks to Jio whose weird-one-year free packs would take me equally long to understand.

Thinking of getting cleaned up and buy a few groceries if I head to the nearest shopping mall, I would have the surprise of my life when they wouldn't accept the currency notes from my wallet. I would even have a terrible time if I were to be incarcerated for owning money!!

Supposing I didn't get arrested and managed to buy from my card ( whose pin I surprisingly remembered ) and head to the petrol pump with my vehicle, I'd be surprised to face the pink notes and the daily changing rates concept.

Faced with a currency shortage, I would walk to my bank's nearest ATM and find that all ATMs in the vicinity are either super crowded or out of cash. After half an hour of waiting in the queue for another bank's ATM when I manage to get in and swipe my card, I would be horrified to see it complaining that I need to visit my bank before I can do this.

Infuriated I walk into my bank's crowded branch, wait the queue out and finally talk to the personnel, who informs me that I can't get any cash out without my Aadhar card being linked. Drat!

I visit a friend, beg him to withdraw cash from his account and he informs me that the bank now charges withdrawals too. Having seen so much, I find it surprisingly easy to digest and get my purchases done and go into a deep sleep.

Within a week, I stumble upon these significant and complex changes:-
a) The cow has replaced the tiger as the national animal and it is easier to kill a tiger claiming that it is a threat to the cattle population.

b) Secularism has become sickularism and the thought of being equal is highly despicable in society
c) There is a clown leading America into disaster

d) Trolls are the best source of online humour
e) A monopolistic power rules over entire India, almost
f) All news is fake

g) The newborn state of Telangana has taken flight, and there are many more in gestation and conception stages
h) People are talking about metros, highspeed trains, hyperloop and what not..
i) There are more things being banned than being invented
j) Exchange deals seem to look like a thing of the past as GST( its the Indian Area-55) kicks in
k) America isn't everyone's blue-eyed boy anymore
l) Europe has turned into a refugee camp
m) Britain is no longer part of Europe!

n) Govt jobs are the fad now
o) We have more entrepreneurs and religious zealots per to compensate for the decline in large private enterprise

 p) Yo-yo Honey Singh isn't composing anymore, but his inspired versions do!

q) There are more really innovative new Indian startups and individuals making a difference out there
r) More people have become sensitive to balancing development with ecological health
s) The railways have become much neater but long long distances to go

What I am glad (or not so ) hasn't changed:-
a) Prices of things are still increasing

b) The crowd and heat of the cities keep increasing
c) More farmers keep sacrificing their lives and livelihood
d) Number of super rich Indians keep rising
e) Super rich and powerful criminals stay out of reach of law and stay in vogue


I think I should return to my rock and shut this mad world out before it floods me with the idiosyncrasies and paradoxes.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A letter from Finland

Today is August 5th 2015. I am writing this from my apartment room in Leppavaara, situated in Espoo, part of Greater Helsinki. This long stay of three months is coming to an end in a couple of days, and I can't wait to get back home.

This time around I came in the right season of spring. Surprised to see blooming flowers and lush greenery everywhere, this is a welcome sight compared to the end-of-winter visit last year. The sun was shining bright from the day we came, and all the folks here are in a jolly mood.

I am happy to note that people here just adore the sun, and I realize how lucky we are back in India to have sun all around the year. But the climate in most parts of our nation isn't comparable to the mild sun of the nordic region. The hottest it can ever get in a summer is 25 centigrade. To talk about of such things back home would be nothing but blasphemy.

Nevertheless, the folks were all jolly, more places were accessible by foot and by transport, and we had a hell lot of time at hand. In my normal form, I wouldn't know the limits of my excitement. But this time, I found myself struggling to focus on many things beyond the official business I came here to attend.

My expectations based on the last year's visits couldn't have been more wrong. The conditions in Finland, and my own personal conditions last year made the stay very memorable and excruciatingly adventurous. It was almost like a vacation, minus the official business which we never allowed to be tampered with.

With just four weeks, being my first overseas journey, and freshly out from depressing events back home, I had all the enthusiasm and energy to stretch my legs onto all major corners of the frigid country.

This time around, my journey was packed into an already time deprived schedule, and with a more difficult task to accomplish. I was equally sad and excited at the beginning of the journey. What I felt could be summarized in the quote from the movie "Motorcycle Diaries" of Che Guevara: "Melancholy for what was left behind and on the other hand all the enthusiasm for entering new lands".

As with all the journeys I have done so far, it takes a while of adjustment to get the enthusiasm kicked in. When I look back now, I realize that the first couple of months were mostly lacklustre, mostly owing to being completely absorbed in official business. We of course managed to cover our weekends with some exciting journeys, but most of the time otherwise was spent addressing our official problems.

This time around, the fun was all about getting to (or rather, having to) eat stuff I cook, finding cost effective ways to find nutritious food, fight boredom and travel to major destinations, while taking care of official business. With rudimentary knowledge of how things work in Finland, and a grasp of the tongue, it took me two months to start my adventurous explorations.

The season promised outdoor activities of all kinds, and the Finns just love their outdoors. I have high respect for the Finns in this regard, and enjoyed being there in that season to see them come out of their frigid homes and enjoy like normal human beings.

I haven't quite figured out how to put out the interesting experiences out here, but I guess I have to break em up to avoid very long blogs. I could add a few pictures to save a thousand words for me. Watch out those articles soon..