This week has been amazing for the media. Hardik Patel, Jasleen Kaur, Indrani Mukherjea, all brought out topics hotter and juicer than the best steak possible. A few days ago, Anurag Kashyap put up a picture of himself with an eye-patch which was then taken up by various media organizations. Later, we found out that he was just playing a prank. Of course, the media fell on its face. Then, a writer at Bollywood Life went ahead and wrote how Kashyap’s experiment was lame.
It was not.
I know everyone wants to be right and no one likes to be pranked. But at the end of the day, the stark reality of the fact that the media is too busy posting stuff that hasn’t been verified, remains. Granted, a picture from Kashyap’s verified Instagram profile should be a credible source, but did you take his permission before posting it? What about the fact that you are running a story on a supposed brawl without asking the other party for their views?
When Jasleen Kaur was declared ‘brave’ and rewarded by the social media, no one wanted to know the other side. Hell, if the accused, Saravjeet Singh, hadn’t taken to the honourable court of Facebook himself, the media would have sentenced him to death.
Oops, my bad. They already did. What our society has always failed to do is to look at the grey. We have always focussed on the right and the wrong so vehemently, that the idea of the matter being both never penetrate our thick skulls. Admittedly, even I was taken in by Jasleen’s post, though, call me a cynic, I did not deem it as important. Why, I said to myself, must we dwell on this when a 13-year-old was raped in a bus? When a 60-year-old woman was killed for ‘being a witch’? Then, of course, I had no choice.
Very soon, my Facebook wall, Twitter timeline, Google Newsfeed were all FULL of Jasleen Kaur, her bravery, her lies, her ticket to fame, her AAP relations, her Facebook picture being prettier than her real face, her picture with Kejriwal, her WhatsApp texts and Sonakshi Sinha’s judgement on the case. Notice how we are slowly moving away from the topic at hand? Initially, it was all about how a young girl was harassed in the middle of a busy street of New Delhi (Oh Delhi! Why cannot your men be better?) and then suddenly, we are all busy with how brave it is of Sonakshi to admit that she was wrong. Well, that escalated pretty quickly.
Media houses are already hauling up the naivete of social media activism but fail to realise that they, that we, are a part of it. Look how the Internet decided to troll us. It has already declared that Jasleen is a fame seeking liar. We have already taken sides. Again. Without wanting to even believe that they both could be wrong.
Whether Jasleen Kaur is the victim or a fame seeking politician in the making is not the news here. The fact that we, the media and the people, decided to run a sexual harassment story based on a Facebook picture without reaching out to the accused, is. The fact that we then decided to change our track because the guy chose to come up with his ‘side of the story’, is. The fact that we let the vicious cycle of media feeding people feeding media, run the news, is.
P.S. All views are my own. Please express your outrage in the comment section.