“No Pros in Media Trial, it is a Toxic Triangle of Viewership, Ratings and Revenue”: Abhishek Manu Singhvi

“Many of us are here are decades younger than him but his friendships cut across generations as Ram was a fearless and fearsome person. I played Badminton with him at 5:30 in the morning and I lost to him every time.”

On the debate topic’ pros and cons of media trial, Singhvi said that it is a relevant theme as Media has exalted the status of a fourth pillar of democracy, after all, there are only three recognized constitutional pillars. But the status comes with humongous power and heightened accountability. He said the topic in a semantic sense is limited to the role of media judicial proceedings because you have to see the larger picture holistic approach starting of course from the sub judice rule to the larger role and response possibility of the media within which that role sits because you can't bifurcate the two and further onwards to the peculiarities of the visual and social media and further onwards the role of the government and of course above all to the voyeuristic depths to which society has sunk into.

He said media has done sterling work in news gathering investigation bit the aberrations are getting bigger because Indian news has plummeted in the wrong direction of the equation between sense and sensationalism, between news and noise between civility and chaos.  “It is the toxic triangle of viewership, the ratings game and revenue it becomes a heavy cocktail. Today the best substitute for thrillers are in certain television news programs,” said Singhvi.

He said punishing many business houses, journalists and channels is still, fortunately, an exception and not the norm. The trial by media in the setting in the largest setting of our debasement and devaluation reform will not occur deliberate intervention, interruptions gleeful verbal spot, the conscious invitation of biased and malicious participants, strategic cutting off of mics, formulation of one-sided themes unevenly numbered viewpoints and many other such things are standard tactics for driving TRP ratings and advertisement revenue.

Singhvi said that it’s the audience like you and me who has given this circus a great degree of legitimacy and strength divided we stand so we let the dog eat dog and let the devil take the hindmost. There are no pros in the media trial. He said the Supreme court is giving very strong words about trials by media subjugal, In Gandhi's trial, SC said that the trial by electronic media or public agitation is the very antithesis of rule of law. It can well lead to a miscarriage of justice, a judge has to guard himself against any of such pressure and he has to be guided strictly by rules of law.  

Remedies to this menace is awareness, awareness of lapse, accountability, and urgent necessity. It must start with the paradox that external control has to be issued. The Press laws is a toothless tiger, the national broadcasting standards authority has fared better but remains vocally inadequate given the size and degree of the menace. Both these peer regulators should get their act together to control the media

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