In the last 24 hours or so, the media led with reports of Priyadarshani Mattoo’s trial and how media activism has helped “bring justice” for the Mattoo family. Here’s an excerpt from NDTV’s version of the events:
Earlier this year, NDTV had launched the ‘United for Justice Campaign’ after the nationwide outrage over the acquittal in the Jessica Lall murder case.
The channel received hundreds of thousands of messages of support in the Jessica, Priyadarshini and Nitish Katara murder cases.
Priyadarshini’s father C L Mattoo even acknowledged the public support when NDTV brought him together with families of other murder victims – Jessica Lall and Nitish Katara.
Where NDTV treads, CNN-IBN can’t be far behind and they led with Mattoo case: Media take a bow? and I quote:
While the conviction of Santosh Kumar Singh has raised hopes for the Lalls and the Kataras, it has also given the Indian media a day in the sun, bringing into sharp focus its role as a watchdog.
While many criticised what they described as “trial by the media” in the three high-profile cases, it’s generally agreed upon that media campaigned almost as relentlessly as the victims’ kin themselves.
I’m glad that justice was served in this case though you can probably expect a Supreme Court petition from the convicted Singh.
But does one case make the media a watchdog? Who decides which cases are taken up? Is it a coincidence that the cases that have garnered so much attention are the high-profile cases? There are so many other atrocities that go unnoticed. The people who can’t afford lawyers, who don’t have access to telephones or SMS campaigns, who’s going to tell their stories?
I get that the media needs to pick their stories because of so many constraints. What I don’t get is the chest-thumping. There are individuals and NGOs doing a lot of work with ordinary people, which we don’t get to hear about so much.
Media is a big business and ratings, readership, circulation numbers are what drives the stories. Let’s just be clear about that among all the hoopla.