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Broadcast Journalism: A Matter of TRP?


Journalism today is in a word, dynamic. Newspaper readership have gone down significantly as online  journalism methods have become the norm. In addition to these new methods of media consumption, the ability to generate and self ­publish news is now in the hands of anyone with an internet connection, creating a new power dynamic between traditional news sources and citizen journalists. But present day journalism has emerged with numerous loopholes. Instead of focusing on the necessary social issues of society, journalism today is more driven towards getting higher target rating points (TRP’s) for TV channels.

Are Women’s ways of dressing, headline worthy?

In a recent news report presented by ‘protidin times’, a prestigious news channel of Assam which aired a report  on “scantily clad” women terming them as a summertime nuisance.  The report further showed shots of monkey’s wearing clothes and of women wearing short dresses, which ran with an ‘exclusive’ tag explaining how animals were ever so keen on putting on clothes whereas women are more keen on shedding them. The report was aired originally in May, but went viral on all social platforms recently, after which the channel took down the report. The reporter of the story, then in an attempt to save the goodwill of the channel, remarked that such clothing went against Assam’s cultures and traditions. The 3.42 ­minute video that mostly focused on women’s posteriors and legs without their consent ran with a ticker: “Fashion means expose”.

The reporter of the story, Hemen Rajbongshi, also asked some local women about their opinion on wearing shorts. Most of them said they were comfortable wearing them, which was then misinterpreted to be a streak of bad culture in them.

Journalism is just a Matter of TRP

Journalism is about stating facts and making people aware of things in society. In recent times, journalism is no longer about sharing opinions, it has now become a fight to earn higher goodwill than their competing counterparts, but in doing so they cross the thin line between what is acceptable and what is not, almost every time.

Since the past eight to ten years, we have been noticing a trend in the Assamese media where self-proclaimed journalists go out an objectify women. While floods in different parts of Assam are wreaking havoc in the lives of people,news channels like ‘Protidin Times’ are interested in proving why women in short dresses are a danger to the community and culture of Assam.

There will come a time when we are going to be the victims of such unethical journalism. In the name of culture, these journalists concentrate only on our body parts.

Culture is not related to women and their body parts. These channels are hell bent on increasing their TRP ratings with insensitive news pieces.


India being a developing country, is doing well when it comes to empowering women in all fields. Women have been given equal status as that of the male. But even today we can see people, men especially, harboring old and conservative thoughts regarding the way women dress nowadays.

Not only is the report of ‘Protidin Times’ extremely biased and sexist, it stereotypes women wearing shorts as “indecent” and says that the culture of Assam has fallen due to girls who “wear such clothes”. The report has also quoted men, who are wholeheartedly agreeing with the report saying “Assam has lost its earlier etiquette.”

It’s not just the journalists, but people all around the country don’t allow women to have the freedom of wearing what they please stating reasons such as ‘Rape’ and changing view point of men in the society. Women are forever bound to wear the dresses deemed proper as per society. Yet we proudly speak of  giving men and women equal status in society, while we loose our minds when we see a women or a girl walking around in shorts.

Every week some news channel or the other will carry a report where they shame women some way or the other. The most common are those reports which have both women and alcohol. Every week this happens, sometimes more than once. And this is the first thing you see in the morning.

Mr. Hemen Rajbongshi, the man who presented the news article posted his statement on a social networking site. The most disturbing thing about the news article being presented was how shamelessly the camera person zoomed towards the dresses of the passing women. They didn’t even bother to blur the faces of the innocent women.

Isn’t this a type of harassment towards the women? What’s the point of putting up a news piece on the clothes women wear, marking them as breaking news?  Is this how journalism is supposed to be, is a question we all need to ponder.

In this era, while we have sent spacecrafts to Mars,a few journalists in Assam are making breaking news on the way women dress. How long is this acceptable? We can only wonder.

[Image Attribute: Niekverlaan]

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