Saritha and Solar Scam: Who is lighting up Asianet News’ Solar Panels?

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The solar panels installed in Kerala are gasping of power as the sun continuous to play hide and seek with overcast sky. But the solar panels in Asianet News head quarters are exhausted with abundant sunshine from an invisible source. The news room is alive and kicking with planted, unsubstantiated and hysterical stories drumming up support for the ouster of the Chief minister of Kerala in Solar Scandal. Oommen Chandy has even threatened to take Asianet News to task by taking them to the court. What has Asianet News done which has even irked the general public in its reporting of solar issue?

Eventhough the clutter of news channels in Kerala are stooping the lowest level of media ethics and responsibility in the race to break news, Asianet News has emerged as clear winner in terms of bringing up whimsical reporting to whip up hysteria. The information on Saritha’s written testimony to the court without naming any politician has irked the Asianet News the most because they were expecting a couple of politicians including Oommen Chandy and his son Chandy Oommen in the list. All the campaigns n discussions with vested interests and hidden motives came falling down when Saritha wrote few pages and submitted to the court. Like an wounded tiger Asianet News channeled their anger to Chandy Oommen. They set out to a condemnable paparazzi act which even western media wouldn’t adopt. They followed the young Chandy Oommen that evening when Saritha gave clean chit to politicians. They would have expected him to have a blast with his friends, but the pious young man visited two Churches alone, sat down and prayed silently. The Asianet hidden camera captured all these moments. While he came out of the Church, on being intercepted by the Asian News reporter, he responded by saying that it is his usual practice! Hours later, Asianet News donned the role of God and declared that he had come to say thanks for not being involved in Saritha’s list!! How bizarre! The way a prayer was interpreted and presented shows the imagination at work at the news room! It is good for Asianet News to remember that they are broadcasting news and not reading novels in the studios!

Does a politician/individual have the right to privacy from the prying eyes of media? Do media houses have unlimited freedom to cross all the permissible ethical limits? What good does all sound and fury under the arc lights without any meaning bring in to the society?

It is a pity to note that none of the allegations that were discussed in detail with emotional outbursts finds place in what matters legally. Each and every over the top allegations against Oommen Chandy and co. which were flashed with ‘Breaking News’ and ‘Developing Story’ tags were disposed off quickly as the facts came out negating the assertions. Give a thought to this – What progress or impact has news channels led by Asianet News made to the Solar investigation even after spending hours of air time? The starting point was that Saritha and Biju Radhakrishnan duped the investors and they had links with Chief Minister’s office and ministers! Have we gone anything beyond that? The call records of Saritha and ministers are out in the open! But does this prove beyond doubt that they had received any sorts of benefits physical or monetary from Saritha? Who in the media can be held responsible for the character assassination of politicians? A minister was even accused of spending a night with Saritha in a house boat and also in a flat. The news channels celebrated but who cares about the family of the minister if he in reality is innocent! It is good to remember that it was not long ago that the petition against Jose Thettayil MLA was kicked off by the court who was accused of cheating a women. No Keralite should forget the day when sexually explicit video clips of Jose Thettayil and the woman were telecasted without any edits whatsoever! Didn’t those at the channels knew that two adults in India can have sexual relation with mutual consent? So why was the drama played out for the audience? If the question was public propriety, the emphasis should have been on that and not digging into and projecting erotic stuff!

Why did Solar scam get wider coverage in news channels eventhough they turned a blind eye towards other high profile scams which are happening at regular intervals in Kerala? The answer is simple – Saritha factor! Saritha is portrayed implicitly as a sexual magnet who attract others with her charm! News channels are setting a dangerous trend of making women, sex and rape as indispensable for an incident to become news worthy.

Skewed priorities of the channel owners to add to the existing mess. The ownership of Asianet news channel by a saffron sympathizer is well known but does this mean that the reports must be stripped off all its civility to pursue hidden agenda?

The double faced audience in Kerala should also share the blame in promoting the news channels to deliver senseless stuff. The public moral lectures stand in sharp contrast to what they wish to watch in the privacy of their homes. Thus instead of viewers putting pressure on media to deliver quality content, there is an silent go ahead to in the minds of majority of the people for the drama which is being played out in the news channels.

The news channels are hunting in packs led by their gang leader Asianet News. There are many takers for Social media campaigns and getting to the streets to challenge the government, but why can’t we invest the same enthusiasm to make the media accountable?

(The author is on twitter as @jeffshawn)

6 comments

  1. What you see and hear in the media , movies and all other mass mediums is a reflection of the viewers mindset. Gone are the days when Journalism ignited positive thoughts and theater raised the benchmark of acceptable behavior. what we see now is a competition among the media houses to stoop lower to increase TRP Ratings. Media persons might argue that it is they who bring crimes and social injustice to light. If they were doing so for the good of the public, how many times have they followed up on the stories they themselves dug out to see if justice has prevailed ? We have a censor board that is quick to respond when there is a skin show on FTV or some VJ in MTV uses abusive language. Why do they turn a blind eye to all willfully maligning rhetoric churned out by mainstream channels. We have Ponzy schemes , Unrecognized educational institutions etc blatantly advertising on mainstream channels and news papers. why have there not been any measures to check this? Each person involved in this sector must realize that what they say , what they print have far reaching ramifications. Ultimately it is shameful that the society laps up this seriously substandard content and fail to demand better journalism.

    1. I completely agree with you. Unless the viewers DEMAND change nothing the channels will maintain status quo! If the so called youth who boast themselves as drivers of change and hit the streets and shouts online against Government, y can’t they show the same enthusiasm to make the media accountable?

  2. Well..cant agree more to it but there are certain facts to be added…Asianet is fully owned by Fox International Channels….We all did notice that Asianet was eager to flash news against the Govt ….The motivation for this is simple– Their is a general tendency among Keralites to like and share news against the Govt in power…. The news channel just utilized this factor to the fullest to boost its TRP ratings…cant expect ethics to run in a corporate media channel….they are just doing business tapping the best resource available–“adhikarathil ullavanethire samsaarikkan malayalikalku ennum ulla thaalparyam”….

    1. There are certain factual errors in what you said. There has to be an indian partner for news channel and it is Rajeev Chandrasekar, BJP MP and founder BPL. (Ref: http://in.reuters.com/article/2008/11/17/idINIndia-36543120081117)
      Also as my friend Mridul said: “I totally agree with your views if it was the case of an entertainment channel.Here its a news channel,and however biased it is,they are supposed to maintain a basic level of credibility and media ethics ..why because,they are handling something which is very sensitive and something which will have a direct impact on the lives of common people..Asianet News Being a channel having this much experience and history,should not have telecasted such a cooked up story which is just a wild imagination of the newsroom editors..”

  3. Where our media is heading to?To know about facts,you are forced to watch at least 10 news channels,read 4 newspapers and finally conclude with your own inferences based on your wisdom.They might even go to the level of morphing the images to create breaking news.Sad state of affairs.How to react to this elite ‘gundaism”?It is crossing all the limits. Asianet and many others lost all their credibility.

  4. Yes. Instead of bringing in clarity the news channels and newspapers are deliberately creating confusion to serve their masters with vested interests. To bring this ‘Elite Gundaism’ to a logical conclusion, the public has to raise voices! Otherwise we will be force fed with what their advertisers and god fathers decide!

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