December 19, 2005

The star, the nephew, the dead

Banner headline across my Sunday (December 18) paper:
    'Dad's home; he's very happy'

That's about Amitabh Bachchan walking out of hospital and going home, of course.

Banner headline across my Monday (December 19) paper:
    Splitting heirs: Raj walks out

And that's about Raj Thackeray walking out of the Shiv Sena.

Among other things that happened in this country over the last few days, there's the tragedy in Chennai in which 42 people were trampled to death. Crowds had gathered because flood relief was to be distributed: Rs 1000 in cash, 10 kg of rice, a litre of kerosene, one sari and one dhoti. As is always likely when crowds gather for such handouts, something triggered a stampede. Dozens died.

In April 2004, there was a similar stampede in Lucknow. This was at a "birthday celebration" for the BJP politician Lalji Tandon, where there was going to be a function to distribute saris to "poor" women. Witnesses said the organisers of this celebration "threw saris into the approximately 5000-strong crowd of poor women crammed into a small park" (AFP, April 14 2004).

Result: a stampede that killed 21 women.

21 dead in Lucknow last year, twice that many dead in Chennai yesterday. But the real news is that a film star leaves hospital, and that a nephew leaves his political party.


Kartik said...

Yes well -that's the sad part, not everything's "worth" reporting nowadays.

Trend especially visible among the 24x7 breed of newschannels that have cropped up recently: Post on my blog - Not everything's worth seeing

Commercialisation of news?

wise donkey said...

this is a repeat in Chennai. 6 had died earlier in Vyasarpadi in November during distribution of relief.

well its easy to blame the media, but as long as they mention the reals news in some corner, i dont have problem with them (there r of course many occassions when even that doesnt happen).

but ultimately we get the media we deserve.

Anonymous said...

On the same night as the call centre employee rape/murder, a 9-year-old child of a labourer couple, was lifted from her home at night. She was gangraped and her throat slashed. She died.

This appeared as a small news item in Deccan Chronicle (Hyd.), not at all on TV. Both incidents evoke outrage, but one was not deemed newsworthy enough to cover.

Is it that news affecting poor people isn't news unless the numbers involved are huge? With what callousness does a news editor choose to deploy yet more resources on an incident that is being covered to death by everyone, while ignoring something like this?