To Read or not to Read!

I hate news papers! What a transformation!!

As a young child, hooked to reading I used to wait eagerly for the newspaper man to deliver it. Thankfully we used to get both The Hindu and The Mathrubhumi newspapers and so we would share it – my grandfather and I. And I remember how I pored over newspapers and read each and every column in every page.

Today too much of it remains same – we get both the newspapers. All of us at home clamour to read it. I, however, don’t chew and digest newspapers like before! The panache with which news items are sensationalized has disgusted me. The Hindu appeals to me even today, thanks to its ethics and ethos. And I sincerely hope they will retain this individuality even in the changing times.

Today’s newspaper was particularly upsetting. The Mathrubhumi carried out a horrific picture of a Palestine girl’s head in the midst of rubbles due to an Israeli attack on a school. Don’t miss the placing of the picture – the left hand top corner of the front page! How can one ever read the newspaper with out glancing at the photograph? It is shameful for a newspaper of the stature of Mathrubhumi to have done this. And for a newspaper that evolved in the crucible of the freedom movement, and conceived as its mouthpiece, what a fall! K. P Kesava Menon, the editor of the newspaper for over 55 years would have been a sad man, had he been alive today.

Yes, we need to highlight the brutality of the Israeli attack.
Yes, we need to highlight how man has debased himself.
Yes, we need to highlight how we have forgotten ethics and fight with unequals.
Yes, we need to drive home our angst & helplessness when innocent children become victims.
And yes, it is also true that a single picture can convey what even a thousand words cant.

But is this picture needed? Why do we have to sup on horrors? What did we gain by such gory details? Do we ever think about what the picture can do to the psyche of adults and more importantly children? Through these graphic details what are we teaching them? Even during the Mumbai attack, the “live” coverage that the media indulged in came for scathing attacks from too many quarters that they had to think about a kind of code of conduct while reporting.

Even otherwise as an educator I have noticed how “violent” our young generation is in their thoughts, words and deeds. Why shouldn’t they be when our media – both print and visual – brings it all into their sitting rooms in all its ghastly depictions? Truly the time has come to teach these impressionable minds NVC – non violence in communication. That can happen only if the minds are free from violence in thoughts, from violence they see around them, thanks to such explicit pictures.

When will we awake to this reality and allow our children to metamorphose into adults naturally? Let us not inject the creed of violence into their blood streams, for God’s sake! This we owe it to them as they are going to be tomorrow’s generation and the nation’s promise!!