I, like the media, couldn’t resist myself on writing about Indian religion guru Asaram (now the guru word can be wiped off his name). The whole nation is talking about the Asaram case, where he is alleged to have sexually abused one of his devotee, who is a minor aged 16. Well of course, the credit goes to the Indian media. Even if Asaram wanted to leave everything and run, the media didn’t left ‘bapuji’. The media chased and chased him, till it made all Indians aware that this is the most important issue in the country right now. But is it really? This post will deal with this and other issues on similar lines with respect to Indian media.
First let us take the case of Asaram running away and the media chasing him. The media picked the news and stated showing it 24*7 when the minor girl filed the FIR (first information report) against Asaram. The media understood the gravity of the issue and hence the sequence of ‘catch me if you can’ from Asaram started. Media certainly had a clear agenda behind this. Again, this also happened because media got a back to back story on sexual assaults on women.
First in Mumbai (for more read my last post), second the Asaram case and also the verdict of the criminal, who is a minor in Nirbhaya case, was to be declared. All three cases coming out at a single point certainly grabbed media’s attention and thus the nations, also the influence makers in society played a role. Their speeches were heard carefully and decision were made amongst people (two step flow theory, for details on this please refer my previous posts).
As my concern is with the media portrayal, I also would like to point out some of the angles I derived from this story. I ask you all a very simple question- hasn’t this story suppressed other important stories, which diminished somewhere down the way in media? You all certainly can relate to some of the stories. One is the hike of petrol and diesel prices. Like other time reporting, media didn’t reported that effectively this time on this issue. Asaram issues is important emotionally to all of us, but isn’t the petrol price hike by rupee 2.75 important to us economically?
Well, this certainly depends on the gatekeeping of the media organization to give space to which story more (gatekeeping thory, for more please refer my previous posts). But, the Asaram story is crucial too. It has put the safety of women in question again. The media, very sensationally, has chased the story but I feel they have done right this time. It was required, don’t you think?
Drop your comments and views on this. Also, if you have any questions go ahead and write it down in the comments box, will answer you.
[Note: Do checkout the video, it shows Asaram dancing. Nothing wrong in that though! :)]