Sunday, July 26, 2009

Truth Hurts?

"Parliamentarians on Wednesday demanded that TV reality show Sach Ka Saamna be banned, terming its content as against Indian values and morality."
Source : India Today

"NEW DELHI: Hours after the furor in Rajya Sabha over the reality show 'Sach Ka Saamna' broadcast by Star Plus, the government on Wednesday issued a show cause notice to the TV channel.

Source : The Times Of India

The TV show in question is an Indian spin-off of the American one "The Moment of Truth". It features participants being hooked up to a polygraph machine and asked questions about their lives, which may vary from being slightly embarrassing to highly controversial. And as long as their answers tally with the results of the lie-detector test, they move on to win greater sums of money. So yes, there have been disclosures tantamount to people admitting to peeing in a public swimming pool and cheating on their spouses. Ordinary people, that are exactly what our society is made of.

By no means do I think the show deserves applause. I personally hold the opinion that this trend of large-scale dirty-laundry washing is just plain tacky. But this is what this multi-million dollar industry of reality TV churns all the moolah out of. Voyeurism sells. Period.

And this is what society is about. People making personal choices regarding their lifestyle. And instead of cowering under a guise of dutiful adherence to what is considered "decent", if they have it in them to unapologetically speak about it, then so be it. No one has any business telling them what they should or should not do. It's a free country.

Having said that, I wonder what caused Mr. Maini to file a public interest litigation in this regard. Does he really think that a shroud of feigned sanctimony does not amount to hypocrisy? Would he rather have people pretend to be pious little heaps of virtuous jackshit, while their days and nights remain tales of culpable damnation? Or rather, what he likes to call "culpable damnation" in his view of things. Is the concept of Indian morality so vague and non-existent, that it needs pretense to support itself? Is it so fragile that they can't hold its own in the face of true-to-life fact?

The way I see it, any purported sense of values that completely excludes facts of urban existence is, in effect, nothing more than play-act. So, what character do you want to be?


Srivatsan said...

But these days,these news channels are daringly jumping the limits and gains ratings by showing the things that are meant to be private.They poke their nose in unwanted matter rather than acting according to the term "media"!
A media should reach the public about what their state is doing actually,but it is not so,cos every businessman is behind a news channel(party in case of south india).Moreover,media is turning into fearmongers,spreading fear among the people.
The best news channel,according to me,is Doordarshan.It is the only news channel that deserves the name.

Sherry Wasandi said...

Fact : The people in the show have voluntarily chosen to be answerable. They have chosen to let their lives be used for mass entertainment. They are getting what they signed up for. Where does "poking" come in, in that case. It's completely solicited.

Media is for variety. Not just news, social issues, politics, reporting, critique and giving a "voice" to the people and influencing public psyche. Everything is commercialized. And anything that finds an audience, works.

As for Doordarshan, I party agree with you. But I also think that the programming needs major amends. For the record, CNN-IBN might surprise you. In a good way. Rajdeep Sardesai knows his job. Knows it well..

Anty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anty said...

Being a very opinionated media student who is being made to study Ethics & Responsibilities these days, I think the only reason that the houses stand against the issue of truth is because they are confused.

As to what they happen to be confused about, a sense of belonging to a very antiquated culture and the need to understand a developing sentiment supporting media scrutiny.

For many reasons, I support the nature of the move. I.e. to remove the infringement of one of the last things that define us as a civilization. Self dignity and worth. Something, that by all means should not be thrown away for a measly sum of money. The media has become a hungry dog, just barking away till thrown a piece of meat. Hopefully, a stay of the show will curb it.

Other than that, I would agree that we must start to give up the pretence that our country will not be able to withstand any sort of declaration of the truth.

Sherry Wasandi said...

I completely agree with your sentiment of not throwing away self dignity and worth for a measly(or any) sum of money. However, I also believe that any choice regarding the same lies only with an individual. If they themselves choose to sell their lives as scandal, media has every right to make what they can out of it.

During my brief stint in journalism, I too held very strong opinions regarding ethics and their importance in media. I still do. But I also see that an industry based entirely on public perception and opinion, will tend to steer towards what sells. Ethics are considered flexible by most, be it business, media, or anything else for that matter. It's wrong, on a personal level. But you can't blame society for being a certain way. If a majority is, you term it as human nature. Baser instinct, maybe. But the voyeurism does sell. And the media needs TRP more than anything else.

Mer-curial-maiden said...

What these people want to drown with their shouts of outrage is the sheer, uncomfortable fact that thousands of people set aside time to watch these unsavoury programs.

It disgusts me to see the holier-than-thou relish with which people watch others squirm their way through uncomfortable truths - both parties complicit in this disgusting trade. "I'll let you see my dirty secrets if you give me money and air-time" & "We'll all sit and gawk as long as you can keep it really slanderous"


And the fact that they want to ban it is a most pathetic re-affirmation of the hypocrisy that this country just can't seem to get rid off. You find it immoral and distasteful? Don't watch it. Period.

Mer-curial-maiden said...

Oh and I just noticed:

"CTRL + C? Think Again."

- Hahahahha :D

Sherry Wasandi said...

@ Mer-curial-maiden : EXACTLY! I couldn't have said it better myself..!

As for the CTRL+C.. well, it sort of became a necessity after someone started ripping entire posts off my blog and pasting them on to his.
After a fair share prejoratives hurled and fury expressed, I managed to get him to delete it.

Plagiarism is just SO wrong. Even on a level as tiny as this.

Diwakar Sinha said...

Agreed. And it is sad that we, the people are the audience and let the shows have the high trps.