What Indian journalists desperately require is a fresher course in journalistic ethics, protocols, and boundaries. Of course, the term ‘fresher’ would apply to those individuals who have been trained in journalism. For news anchors pretending to be journalists, there is really nothing much which can be said. Their absolute indifference to the rules of journalism does not fail to amaze people every time they resort to new shenanigans. The TRP-hungry Indian media industry is driven by an undying, toxic and vicious love for ‘exclusives’ and ‘breaking news’. Often, the fulfilment of such goals comes at the cost of people who interact with charlatans claiming to be journalists.
Indian journalists are generally very excited about visiting the United States of America. Their fascination with America often reflects in their “on-ground” reportage. The same was visible in the recent case of Aaj Tak anchor Anjana Om Kashyap barging into a room where India’s first secretary to the United Nations, Sneha Dubey was present. Sneha Dubey has garnered praise in India for her fiery rebuttal to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s address to the UNGA.
Sneha Dubey, IFS, Representative of India at UN asked Anjana Om Kashyap to leave the room as she breaks the protocol by the entering the room without official permission. pic.twitter.com/Mp609slBsc
— Divyaansh Mishra (@divyaanshwho) September 25, 2021
“I know you don’t want to talk on record but if you can talk…because the whole country wants to hear you speak. What you did today at the UN might be routine work for you but it’s a huge thing for the country,” Anjana tells Sneha Dubey by taking hold of her arm, almost as if forcing the lady to speak to her. The UN secretary replies, “I already said what I had to say…please.” The Aaj Tak anchor is then sternly shown the door out of her room by Dubey.
Anjana Om Kashyap simply barged into Sneha Dubey’s private space, without seeking her permission. This was a brazen invasion of her privacy. Journalists cannot welcome themselves into the private space of any individual without permission, more so if the person concerned is not facing charges of misconduct. Here is a woman who has made India proud at the UNGA, and Anjana Om Kashyap invades her privacy as none exists whatsoever. This is definitely not how journalism is done.
Not Anjana Om Kashyap’s First Time
In 2019, an Encephalitis outbreak in Bihar has taken the lives of more than a hundred children and panic had struck the administration and hospitals as they try to overcome the disaster and avert more deaths. But in such a sensitive period, a video had gone viral in which Kashyap was seen heckling and questioning a doctor in Muzaffarpur, during his duty hours in the ICU. It was clear from the video that the journalist was creating a hindrance in the treatment process and was wasting the time of the doctor by bombarding him with questions, not paying any heed to the answers.
In the video, Kashyap was seen questioning the doctor who was trying his best to answer her accurately as the alleged journalist seemed hell-bent on twisting his words. Included in her incessant questioning was a blatant statement that a child wasn’t being attended to. The doctor, clearly agitated, explained that the child had just come in and will be tended to soon enough. Yet Kashyap kept on stating that the arrangements aren’t sufficient and the doctors are inadequate.
Aaj Tak Quite an Expert in Creating Such Scenes
After the abrogation of Article 370, the infamous Aaj Tak employee Mausami Singh presented another example of poor journalism. According to Aaj Tak, Mausami Singh was going to take stock of the situation in Srinagar after the abrogation of Article 370, where she claimed airport security staff misbehaved with her.
— AajTak (@aajtak) August 24, 2019
In the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, there are security restrictions in place to ensure the preservation of lives and property against Pakistan-sponsored radical groups and terrorists. Nonetheless, unnecessary photography or videography is prohibited at the Srinagar Airport due to security reasons, as it is considered a defence airport. In such a situation, how is forcing a microphone in the face of security personnel and disrupting the security protocols at a critical airport remotely justified? Is this the level of journalism of our mainstream media?
Indian Media’s Shameful Conduct During the Nepal Earthquake
During the 2015 Nepal earthquake which devastated the Himalayan nation, Indian journalists and their antics had resulted in the hashtag #GoHomeIndianMedia becoming a top social media trend in Nepal with tens of thousands of tweets on the subject. People complained that the coverage had been insensitive and jingoistic, among other things. An Indian reporter grabbed a wounded survivor and paraded her in front of the cameras rather than putting on some cloth to stop the bleeding. Another one asked a woman whose only son was buried under a wreck, “How do you feel?”.
The undying desperation to secure more and more TRPs has blinded mainstream media outlets in India, to the extent that they have lost it all – a moral compass, elegance, decency, and respect for others. For them, an exclusive byte is the beginning and end of a day well spent, notwithstanding how such bytes are procured. Ethical lines today stand obscured more than ever, and what the media is undergoing is a real-time crisis that requires immediate fixing.