Anil Thakraney: What lessons have we learnt from Aarushi?

13 Apr,2012

By Anil Thakraney


Aarushi is back in the news. And it’s quite obvious that the media heat on the 2008


Aarushi Talwar killing in Noida has kept the investigation going. Just as it happened in the Jessica Lal murder case. If the media hadn’t given so much attention to this crime, Aarushi’s X-file would most likely have been closed a long time ago. So far so good.


However, the manner in which the electronic media has covered the story in the last four years has been nothing short of unfair and unethical. It’s one thing to put pressure on crime investigation; it’s another thing to break every single tenet of journalism with impunity. I recall the two extremes that were played out on the TV channels in the aftermath of the murder. On the one hand, there were the Star News reporters busy re-enacting the murder and virtually declaring that the parents were the killers. On the other hand there was Sonia Varma of NDTV in a chat show with Aarushi’s mom, not just bonding with her but making every visible effort to make the lady appear victimized. And in between these two extremes there has been a whole lot of speculation raging on, and every single news channel is guilty of it. What took the cake was the narco-analysis tests of the suspects being freely broadcast for public consumption!


No, I am not saying for a second that the intentions of the anchors/reporters were motivated. But it is equally true that without realizing it, they have been sending all good journalism practices for a toss. This has been a trial by the media, the channels have been playing the cops, the lawyers and the judges all rolled into one. And all this only to give a ‘fresh slant’ to the story. This sort of a public tamasha doesn’t happen anywhere in the world media, apart from a few yellow tabloids.


Click on the image for larger view

No, after four long years, we still don’t know who killed Aarushi. Maybe we’ll never know. But thanks to an over-excitable media, many reputations have been tarnished forever. Question is: Have we learnt our lessons? I suspect not. I have a strong feeling that in the mad chase for TRPs we will make the same mistakes all over again.




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PS: Fantastic press ad. Reminds me of the golden days of Trikaya andEnterprise, when the agency writers would churn out stunning prose. This advert kills all the myths that float around about press ads. That people don’t read long copy. That you have to say things straight and quick. That press ads are at best a reminder medium. All nonsense.


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