25 March, 2016

SHRINKING SPACES

From Frames to Stamps!
Indian Television is increasingly becoming despotic, dictatorial and fascist.
Time was when the Anchor would respectfully invite and engage with one expert panelist.
Then two began to be invited for contrary points of view. So far so good. But then began the devaluation and the insult. Steadily the Anchor started becoming the ring master.
We had three, then four panelists - with the anchor-teacher conducting the show. Then five, then six. And now there are full EIGHT of them.
EIGHT panelists and ONE anchor. The panelists squabble for their slot of time, for being heard. For their lost say. Eventually none of them would get to put his point of view across. All that we would know is what the anchor tells you they said.
As the circus goes on the anchor keeps chiding them on top of their din:
- Please respond briefly
- I am running out of time
- I will come to you, X, and Y, later
- You have 15 seconds each...
- I am completely out of time
The role of the panelists has been shrinking over the years on Indian news TV, as has been the size of his panel: from frame, to passport size to stamps. Or from full size to thumbnails, to use the jargon.
And the Anchor has become the irrepressible super boss. The Judge, the Jury, the Executioner all rolled into one. He issues sermons, chides, admonishes, questions, answers, judges and passes the verdict. All on the presumptuous notion that "the nation wants" him to do this.

Isn't it time to ask the fourth estate to behave? To boycott the arrogant TV?

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