Viewer Discretion Required: The Reality of ‘New’ media

Importance of Viewer Discretion to cope up with prevailing media bias

You switch on the news channel and see a person shouting at the highest of his lungs trying his best to make you think that the establishment is ‘always’ right. You flip the channel and are welcomed by a man who barely resembles Imran Khan, mimicking the Pakistani PM. Yet one more channel flip and comes a person on your TV screen, taking sarcastic digs at the screaming anchor while propagating his agenda.

News media in today’s context holds a particularly complex place. While there is no denying that in a democratic country, journalism and news act as power balancers and checkers. The commercialisation of news that has come up to be the truth as a consequence of competition and TRP races, has caused sensationalisation of stories. So something like PM visiting his mother is given more coverage than a crucial subject. Not just this but the increasing competition has also led to journalism counting on political parties for funds, thus biased news presentation.

Social Media: The New News Source
Social Media: The New News Source

For a short time, social media sites were considered the perfect successor. Since social media didn’t believe TRP’s, it had been assumed that bias wouldn’t seep in there. But social media comes with its perils. In some other context, the ‘personalised content’ trait of Social Media would be appreciated but within the context of stories, personalised content causes you to sleep in a bubble. You’ll be shown the content, you engage the foremost with. So if you follow leftist accounts, your opinion will progress from what’s shown as facts on those accounts. Which entirely kills the motive of stories within the first place. News should only present events as they’re happening. What to form of it should dwell in the hands of the audience, which, unfortunately, isn’t the case, right now. Social Media has also caused a faster spread of lies. Independent journalism, that became a fad with youngsters like Dhruv Rathee and Pratik Sinha could have brought change but even then the importance of viewer discretion can’t be neglected.

Need of the hour is that the ‘spectator’ becomes the ‘questioner’.

Ravish Kumar, Journalist, NDTV

The circumstances that we live in mandates every citizen to actively pursue true news. To become what they call, “active citizens”. To understand everything about everything and keep an open mind with well-formed opinions. As a citizen of a democratic country like India, it’s our responsibility to not just receive news but actively engage with it. We can not stop watching the news altogether since it’s only when we hear differing opinions that we get to introspect and see if we truly believe in what we are saying. The trick is to seek out a balance between the consumption of news and it’s analysis.

Is the world becoming Anti-China?

The world as we know it today seems to be forming an alliance against China, mostly because of suspicions behind the widespread Covid19, due to which as many as 552K people succumbed to their deaths (as of 10/07/2020).

There were many accusations thrown at China, most of which were conspiracies like the Coronavirus being released and created on purpose, and some were serious accusations like the “late transmission of data about the virus to other countries”.

With all of this, Australia, backed by its neighbour New Zealand, was the first to demand a probe into the matter.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief also called for an “independent and scientific” probe.

Meanwhile, the US insisted on investigating on its own.

But this is not all, China’s relationship with Taiwan and India and its disregard for territorial sovereignty has already made people question its authority in the United Nation’s Security Council.

According to India Today, “most of those calling for China’s removal from the UNSC are Indians, clearly a result of the Chinese aggression at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.”

When non-WHO member Taiwan, reached out for support from other countries for gaining membership in the World Health Organization, the countries who pledged support to Taiwan were shunned and threatened by China since it considers Taiwan to be one of its provinces.

People all across the globe are calling China out for its human rights violations. In August 2018, a human rights committee was provided with credible reports of China turning ” the Uighur autonomous region into something that resembles a massive internment camp”

 In 2018, Human Rights Watch revealed details about the Chinese government’s mass arbitrary detention, forced political indoctrination, torture, and mass surveillance of Uighur Muslims. 

According to HRW, people were being detained for reasons like: “His wife wore veils.” “He has one more child than allowed by the family planning policy.” “He prayed after each meal.”

More than a million people are detained and are forced to eat pork, drink, and pledge alliance to Xi JinPing.

The Human Rights Watch also slammed China for its treatment of Africans and discrimination against them in its Guangzhou Province.

Economically, the United States, Japan, and India have started to distance themselves from China.

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, has asked American firms to leave China.

Meanwhile, India has banned 59 of China’s apps and has tightened its foreign investment rules.

The US has also extended its ban on Huawei for another year and is asking allies to keep a check on Chinese Tech Giants.

Japan has set up a 2.2 billion dollar fund to help pull away from its companies from China.

 In its expansionist mind-set, China does not keep its relations with its neighbours ideal either.

Protests in Hong Kong have been going on for about a year against plans to allow extradition to mainland China.

Because of its increased naval and military presence in the South China Sea during the pandemic, and the territorial disputes over the Spratly Islands and Parcel Islands in the middle of the South China Sea, China does not have strong relations with its neighbours Taiwan, Philippines, Vietnam, and Brunei either.

China’s border disputes with Bhutan which was initially confined to Central and Western sectors is now expanding to the Eastern sector as well.

China is now claiming the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary which adjoins the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, as its territory. Since Bhutan is a close ally of India it does not have diplomatic ties with China. Many now claim that the move to claim Bhutan’s Eastern Sector was a bid to put pressure on India.

Even though the Royal Bhutanese Embassy in India has said, that the boundary between Bhutan and China is under negotiation and has not been demarcated, this power-flex comes off as a shock to India, which fears another dispute with China in the case of Arunachal Pradesh, after the LAC face-off in Ladakh which happened not even a month ago. According to Hindustan Times, India was backed by several countries including the US, UK, France, Australia, and Japan, in its border stand-off with China.

China’s unpopularity is not limited to countries and their governments anymore.

In April 2020, an internal report circulated by the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, a government-affiliated think tank associated with China’s top intelligence agency, concluded that “global anti-China sentiment is at its highest since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.”

With the world standing against China, it’s not hard to see whether its authoritarian regime will fall or not.

The question is, how soon?

                                                                – Aanandita Singh