In the Sunday papers

This and this.

So, while Swaminathan Aiyar celebrates the “TV jury”, Sevanti Ninan says the mediator is disappearing from media. Here’s Mr. Aiyar:

In fact, hundreds of private TV channels in all languages have now made possible a judicial revolution. TV viewers have been transformed from a passive audience into judicial activists.

Is this trial by media? No. The new activism is not the activism of media barons, editors or producers. It is the activism of millions of TV viewers.

Of course he’s talking about Jessica Lall and Priyadarshini Mattoo. He even makes a reference to Afzal Guru (the ‘on the other hand’ example).

And then there is Sevanti Ninan:

One tirelessly self-promoting Indian blogger can’t get either his spellings or facts right. But who cares? He’s got an opinion to air.

He’s not talking about media trials, but about technology, and how it’s changed people’s media experience.

So here we are, with people telling us we’re now more involved than ever in the media, and that thanks to that, we’re now a TV jury.

I do take issue with that term, you know. We don’t have a jury system in India, for a reason: juries are swayed by “the evidence of one witness, rejecting all others”. Never a fair system. We chose, instead, to put our faith in judges, people who are supposed to be trained to weigh evidence. More importantly, they have all the evidence before them: all the evidence that both parties bring before them (and that applies to a trial jury too). And whatever Sevanti Ninan may think, the mediator is not missing, but is very much there. Whether it is the blogger or the editor, there is always someone deciding what we read, what we see. And they’re constrained by their own positions on the issue, by the limited space available to them, by considerations of selling more papers, TRPs, blog hits, or even just the love of their own voice.

All truth is mediated; and the nature of the mediation is what we need to recognise, if we are to participate intelligently in our democracy.

And that’s my voice.

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4 Responses

  1. But who is the blogger he refers to? Curiosity overcomes me now…

  2. Yes, it does, doesn’t it? 🙂

    And ‘she’, by the way, not ‘he’.

  3. The blogger referred to here is Kiruba.

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