There is too much outside!
Media, Cinema and TV; they educate or divert attention?

Mahesh Bhatt, the famed Mumbai film maker and a social thinker and social activist has written a thought-provoking article (Economic Times, April 22, 2004) on our “attention deficit disorder”. By this he means how our Bollywood stars and other film industry wallahs are diverting our attention. The 2004 Lok Sabha elections saw them too much! Yes, the cinema is a big commercial industry and so the new TV channels, Bhatt informs us numbering over 80 channels offering 1,200 hours programming each day! So too the print media that is growing in scale but not in quality. The mainstream newspapers, indulge in cheap gimmicks. The venerable Hindu splashes big colour pictures of cricket stars or film stars on the front page.

The Birlas Hindustan Times on a Sunday puts four of Sonia Gandhi’s pictures in the front page, as if she is a film star! Sorry to say these things but then this is the attention grabbing tactics adopted by all our media. Unfortunately, India doesn’t possess a worthy news channel, the NDTV promises to be an exception. But then it is not yet world standard. In the world only BBC, CNN dominate. Luckily, the clumsy way the Americans do things in Iraq, the two Arabic TV news channels, Al Jazeer the Qatar based and the Dubai based Al Arabic are now sought after in the rest of the world for authentic news from the Arabic world news and developments. What India has also an international class TV news channel? Russia, or China also have credible news channel. The democratic world suffers. The BBC is becoming cowardly. The CNN also fell for the American pressures, the print media fell for the “embedded” journalism, another world for censorship!

Unfortunately, the spread of education all over the world hadn’t created an informed and alert world viewers. In India, we have to think seriously how our media industry become a cultural force. Our attention deficit, people have no time to pause or think or contemplate is a serious cultural deficiency. Bhatt quotes Alexander Sollzenistn “Our capacity for concentration…. is being overwhelmed by a tidal wave of superficial information deluge”

Of Course, our political leaders had demonstrated total insensitivity to unfortunate citizens. Be it communal carnage or large human age dies. Highly educated and in power political leaders have all turned spin masters. All for a coarse political culture. Political leaders are seen not as clean men. So, the critical education philosophy today must sensitise individuals, give some moral sensitivity and courage borne of such heightened sensitivity.


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