By Rajan Khanna
The role of visual media in shaping the social mindset is becoming increasingly vital with every passing day. In order to take the inputs and to know about the future expansion programmes of the Zee network— the largest in India—I met its group chairman Shri Subhash Chandra Goel. In recent days, media has been abuzz with the stories of the scandals of various hues; from CWG to 2G and from Adarsh Housing Society to NRHM, the information about the above stated frauds wouldn’t have reached the public domain had the visual media not adopted a proactive approach in unearthing the scams.
My first question to Shri Subhash Chandra was about the support having been rendered to the anti-corruption movement of Shri Anna Hazare by the news channels. To my question that why all of sudden the media stopped covering the anti-corruption events of the team Anna, he replied, “The unscrupulous elements are present in every sphere of life and they don’t want the Anna movement to succeed, may be their pressure tactics are making the media refrain from giving that much coverage to the said movement as much it was giving earlier. Besides, some kind of fissures are appearing in team Anna itself.”
Zee group had promoted ICL in India before the BCCI-controlled IPL came into picture; today, Indian cricket is in dire straits and many experts attribute the poor performance of team India to the IPL version of the game promoted by the BCCI. When Shri Chandra was queried about the recent dismal performances of the Indian cricket team, he said, “Through ICL we wanted to create huge bench strength in the sport of cricket but our initiative was thwarted by the unimaginative governing body of the sport in India. Today, we can’t see many deserving youngsters around who can step into the shoes of ageing members of the team India.” On being asked how the media can play its role in promoting various other sports in the country so that we can hope to get some medals in the Olympics also, his reply was curt, “Unless, the politicians stop meddling in the governing bodies of the sports, the overall scenario is not going to improve substantially.”
There are many spheres of life in which the media can play a very positive role; maintaining the cleanliness and aesthetics in public places, is one of them. When questioned about the possibility of the media’s participation in dissemination of messages of civic importance and producing and telecasting programmes in this respect, he affirmatively replied, “Yes, in this regard a lot can be done by the media and more efforts can be put which can result into cleaner and greener environment.”
Zee group has its presence in the field of education also; with quality education getting more and more expensive, his views were sought about affordable education for the underprivileged. His reply was analytical, “In order to give appropriate attention to all of them, you cannot have more than twenty five students in a particular class room and the exercise has its bearing on the cost factor, therefore, in private institutions it is going to be very difficult to manage without charging adequate fees. However, it is incumbent upon the government to provide good quality education to those who cannot afford to study in private institutions.”
Media can play a very useful role in creating awareness about the social responsibilities and eradication of those superstitious practices which are ailing the society at large. Shri Subhash Chandra agreed that more programmes by the channels are required to highlight the said factor and the initiative is bound to have very positive effect on the viewers.
Today’s youth is getting disillusioned – because of rampant corruption prevailing in the country – and there is a great need of reinforcing the plummeting structure of the social values; the telecasting of the serials based on the lives of Maharana Pratap, Chhatrapati Shivaji, Swami Vivekananda and others can motivate the young generation to a larger extent. On the question of how Zee group can play its part in inculcating social values, Shri Chandra informed that they are going to start a separate public service broadcasting channel shortly. The information is quite heartening because the people will be reminded about the sacrifices having been made by our forefathers and the youth will be motivated to contribute in the progress of the nation and not get disheartened by the deeds of the unscrupulous politicians.