An incomplete picture of the crisis

There are about 400 news channels in the country. Despite this, people trust newspapers more when it comes to reliability and accuracy of news. Why is this so? Why has the TV news industry failed to build its credibility among audiences in the last two decades? It is also a question of how interested the audience is in watching serious topics related to public interest. With the arrival of online news websites, the crisis on TV news channels has worsened. With exception, their economic condition is very weak. They have to rely on advertisements for resources. They have to work under the pressure of market and political power. Debt-ridden NDTV CEO Prannoy Roy had to sell his channel to the Adani Group last year. Many famous journalists including Ravish Kumar have resigned.

Vinay Shukla’s documentary ‘Namaskar, Main Ravish Kumar’ is yet to be officially released in the country. Recently, these documentaries made in India are being talked about in film festivals at home and abroad, but documentary makers and directors always have to look for audiences and distributors. However, as the name suggests, the focus of this documentary is Raveesh Kumar, a television journalist and star-anchor who has been associated with NDTV India for nearly 25 years. His journalism and life struggle echoing political ideology and nationalism is the subject of this documentary. The documentary is also a sharp commentary on the workings of the TV news industry. Power, be it political or religious, never likes questions. In a democratic system the media as the representative of the people questions the government. Ravish Kumar’s journalism has also questioned those rights, the consequences of which he has suffered. India has been called the ‘Mother of Democracy’ at home and abroad. If the media is not free in the world’s largest and oldest democracy, it points to a crisis in democracy. Journalism today is not easy.

India ranks 161 out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index. Yet, despite the crisis, there are many professional journalists who shun glamor and risk their lives to bring the truth to society. In 2019, the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, while presenting the award, described Ravish Kumar’s journalism as ‘a voice of the voiceless with a commitment to truth’. In Hindi television journalism, where the emphasis is on entertainment and sensationalism, loyalty to truth has taken a back seat. The documentary feels incomplete and disjointed. There are so many questions, like how NDTV was saddled with debt, there is no response. For the full picture the relationship between capitalism and the media must also be questioned.


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