Media Mayhem

I came across this news article in the Times of India and it really got me annoyed. It’s about a student of Indian origin here in Australia that committed suicide due to not being able to find a job.

What I find extremely unethical and ridiculous about this piece is this bit:

“Commenting on the incident that comes amidst attacks on Indian students, Federation of Indian Students in Australia founder Gautam Gupta said that it was an act of desperation.

“It indicated failure of the system. Victorian Premier John Brumby should take personal responsibility for the victim’s death,” he said.”

Firstly, what is the connection between the supposed racial attacks and this incident? It’s so evident that the Times is just continuing to stir things up and to make it appear that there is some kind of connection. Through a mere statement such as this, they manage to create the impression within India that Indian students are committing suicide because things are so bad in Australia. Have these reporters even come out here to check things? I know one or two have as I saw when I was in Bombay but by talking to just one section of Indians (read: those that live in the ‘Indianised’ areas of Sydney), what hope do they have in getting facts? Why not talk to the other side? To Indians like me. Who love it here. And know we’ve got it good (I know I’m not alone in that!)

Secondly, to this fellow Gautam Gupta: How in the world is John Brumby to blame? Are you telling me that no Indian in India (or anywhere else in the world) has ever committed suicide??? In my 3 weeks in India, the papers had a suicide every single day. Does that mean in the same sense the Indian government “should take personal responsibility” for all those deaths???? And failure in the system — that never happens in India, does it? India has a perfect system and fights for the rights of everyone including the minorities, doesn’t it?

Suicide is a choice. A bad one, but a choice nonetheless. No one is held responsible apart from the individual themselves (unless it’s assisted suicide). And in this case, for some reason, just not getting a job was enough for this individual to think that the rest of their life was hopeless. I wonder if he heard about the global financial crisis due to which people were losing jobs. It’s a shame he didn’t wait around given that things are going to pick up. Unfortunately, for Indians, psychology is still a developing field. It’s still not common to go and seek therapy and get the help you need if you are depressed because you can apparently “get over it”.

But I digress.

It’s a shame to see what the Times of India has become. I grew up with it and enjoyed reading it even if I disagreed with it re sports. But now, it’s just trashy like every other media outlet. It just aims to sensationalise. Like gossip magazines. It’s a huge fall for something like the Times. They need to take a hard look at themselves and maybe even look at their ethical codes. If they have any. All the newspaper is now, like most gossip mags, is a waste of so many trees.

On that note, I left a comment a few days ago for that article sort of saying some of what I’ve written here, and it has not been approved. I wonder why? (I didn’t use any swear words either)

Until next time,


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  • soin
    September 25, 2009 at 8:38 am

    times has always been ywllow journalism.. hindu is much

  • Kartikey
    September 25, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    From the report

    Commenting on the incident that comes amidst attacks on Indian students, Federation of Indian Students in Australia founder Gautam Gupta said that it was an act of desperation.

    “It indicated failure of the system. Victorian Premier John Brumby should take personal responsibility for the victim’s death,” he said.

    So it’s one person’s viewpoint. Tho Times doesn’t say this, the individual does… the newspaper only reports it. And where does the newspaper talk or link the incident with racism? (you do that) What wrong has Times done out here? What has it stirred?

    To Soin (and Psych)
    In this case, what strikes you as Yellow Journalism? This is the first report. In the subsequent reports, you may get perspectives.

    Read this from The Hindu:
    It’s the same news and the source is PTI (not Times or Hindu)

  • Sonu
    September 25, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    I completely agree with you. It’s just a way for the media to hype everything as they always do so here in India. It’s true…literally everyday there’s at least one article in the newspaper about someone committing suicide. And it is difficult for people everywhere to get a job now because of the “recession”…but as usual the Indian media just wants to make Australia look bad. Personally I think it’s just because they hate the Aussie cricket team defeating India all the time and so this is their way of getting back at them. Shame on them!!!

  • Pesto Sauce
    September 25, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Media exaggeration is very sad

    TV journalism is even sadder, which I witnessed recently live on air, enumerated in my post

  • Psych Babbler
    September 25, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    @ Soin: It has…but I always thought it was only related to sport and other news was delivered in an objective manner.

    @ Kartikey: How has the Times stirred something? Well, you haven’t read it clearly then — what was the need to bring up the so-called attacks when it’s nowhere related to this suicide? I can understand if they say it comes up during the globabl financial crisis but there is no need to bring up the attacks in this instance. Plus, the Times (and the Hindu acc to your link) chose to only publish this one comment from this one individual. Why? To sensationalise, of course!

    @ Sonu: Lol at the cricket example.

    @ Pesto Sauce: Oh…don’t get me started on TV journalism. It was an overload for me when I was in Bombay with the zillion news channels on their ‘breaking news’ every 5 seconds (remaining the same most of the day, mind you) and mostly on the most inane things! TV manages to make it even more exaggerated with the tones in their voices and their ‘shocked’ responses! 😛

  • Kartikey
    September 26, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Commenting on the incident that comes amidst attacks on Indian students, Federation of Indian Students in Australia founder Gautam Gupta said that it was an act of desperation.

    Is this factually wrong? The first report by PTI was published by the newspapers. There is no sensationalism out here.
    Of course, no body is blaming Australia for this. Have you checked out the media reports before typing this post? It’s plain:
    1. Australia is not responsible for the suicide
    2. The mentioned papers didn’t sensationalize anything
    Your post stands out as more sensational

  • Legal Alien
    September 26, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    @ Kartikey: Quotes don’t magically appear onto a newspaper, a journalist CHOOSES the quotes they want to use and in this case obviously the Times journalist thought Mr Gupta’s quote was the “perfect” way to make the point the article is trying to prove. Quotes are sometimes used to present opposing points of view but it is more than obvious that the article has assumed there couldn’t possible be an opposing point of view. If Times does not endorse Mr Gupta’s point of view, then it should’ve obviously mentioned that in some part of the article but since it does not, I think its sfe to assume the quote is used as added padding for the Times to say “See..i told you so!”.
    The Times of India at one point may have been a good newspaper but its nothing but trash right now. I have no respect for a newspaper that publishes ill-informed reports…and trust me it has been happening for years. In addition, a newspaper that often has spelling and grammatical errors doesn’t deserve to be read. But we shall discuss that some other time.

    @Psych: You make a great point as always. I am so SICK of everything about Australia being sensationalised. Like you said, how come OUR opinions, the ones of people who are happy here are not voiced? Obviously because its not enough masala.

    Times are tough and Indians aren’t the only ones having trouble finding a job and that is not Mr Brumby’s or Mr Rudd’s fault. If it is, then I’m pretty sure its okay to blame Manmohan Singh or some other minister for millions of Indians being unemployed as well. Thousands of Indians commit suicide because they cannot find a job, how come the Times of India does not ask the chief minister of those states to take responsibility.

    I’m sorry for my long rant Psych… I’m just so tired of the Indian media filling up their pages with poorly researched garbage.

  • Psych Babbler
    September 26, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    @ Kartikey: See Legal Alien’s response to you. Given she is a journalist in the making, she not only echoes my sentiments but adds her knwoledge of the field to it.

    @ Legal Alien: Thanks for your response to Kartikey! And I have no problem with your rant. You are right when you say there will be no masala if they speak to Indians like us who like it here and have faced no form of discrimination whatsoever. What about the stimulus package that Rudd gave out earlier in the year? I’m sure the Indian students working legally the year before would have received it as well if they had filed their taxes. How come no one sees things like that? Does the Indian govt give money out like that? And yeah, the Times chose to speak to this Gautam Gupta fellow and if they had wanted to, they could have got another pov but they did not. Period.

  • Kartikey
    September 27, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Legal Alien,
    If Times does not endorse Mr Gupta’s point of view
    In that case, newspapers are allowed to be subjective which means Times is bang on?
    Sometimes the only quotes that come out in the open are from a single source. I agree with you about the partisan quoting business. That’s bad. But there are other stories to prove your point. Not this one.

    Did you check/are you aware that (if) the government responded to the story (it didn’t)? In which case is there anything wrong in reporting a comment? Are you aware that every newspaper published the same story done by PTI (which the author doesn’t even mention)? And this is okay since this is not an op-ed or an opinion piece. Do a simple internet search before writing?

    Leave out projections. They got a quote, a single one, and none from the other sources (read up before commenting) and they have every right to publish it.

    I’m just so tired of the Indian media filling up their pages with poorly researched garbage.

    I agree. But it’s not true here. Read Psych’s India posts. You’d have a better idea of research.

    I could accept opinions if they were based on truths.

    the Times chose to speak to this Gautam Gupta fellow and if they had wanted to, they could have got another pov but they did not
    Nonsense. At the time the story went to print, there was no other POV. Verify your stuff before blogging it.
    If you care about professions, then (in this case) your journalist friend doesn’t sound good. I am glad I don’t go on professions for substantiation.

  • Reema
    September 28, 2009 at 5:00 am

    its true..TOI’s quality has degraded too much.

  • Legal Alien
    September 30, 2009 at 2:46 am

    Kartikey: I’m not sure why you’re taking this so personally but anyway, let me counter what you had to say.

    In an ideal world, newspapers are not subjective but only someone really stupid would think newspapers are completely objective because they are not. I don’t just say this for Indian newspapers but for newspapers across the world. If newspapers were as objective as you and I wish they were, then this article would be much better presented, trust me. But anyway, that is not the argument here. A newspaper endorses a particular pov by publishing it and not publishing another. That’s what I meant. What do you mean no other pov was available at the time the story went to print? Povs don’t just float around in the air waiting for someone to catch it. Journalists conduct interviews and that can give them another pov but to reassert my point, the journalists (Times, PTI or whoever!) were too lazy to even get another point of view. So why is this story a bad example to prove my point?

    Comments don’t necessarily have to come from the government, they can come from anyone who is in a position to say something useful, so I don’t know how what you’re saying is relevant?

    Psych & I are commenting on this particular article in the Times because that’s where we read it. I don’t know why it is important that it was published in every Indian newspaper? I don’t really care abut it… Oh maybe because I was bashing TOI? Well, I didn’t lie about anything… they are a terrible newspaper. Period. And yes, I am entitled to my opinion. Also, the fact that it was published in each newspaper further proves my point about the Indian media publishing stories merely to create a hype because I am well aware that Australia is a hot topic right now in India.

    Leave out projections? What do you mean? Sure TOI has the right to publish a quote if they get it. Again, back to my original point – read the 1st paragraph again.

    Yes, this story IS poorly researched because it DOES NOT provide a balanced point of view which in an ideal world a newspaper should do right? You will notice when I said “I’m just so tired of the Indian media filling up their pages with poorly researched garbage.” I did not particularly mention this story but meant garbage in general because I have been reading a lot of nonsense about how “bad” things are here in Australia ever since those “attacks”. And that is just one example of poor research.

    I don’t know why Psych’s “journalist friend” doesn’t sound good but maybe its simply because you can’t bring yourself to possibly see another person’s opinion?

    Kartikey, thank you very much but I don’t need lessons on research from you. Having been part of the Indian media at one point, I am now quite well aware of how little research goes into many stories that are published in our newspapers. My opinions expressed on this blog are the truth and I don’t think anyone ever really needs to research their own opinion do they? Unless of course those opinions are second hand…then its understandable!

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