The ignorance of Indian media to sports other than Cricket has always been a topic of debate. Though coverage of events like Olympics and other such games of important games are always at priority, but certain games have always been on the non-receiving end in terms of Media coverage is concerned. This biasness of media is again a proof of the fact that, news broadcast in India is only restricted to money making and TRP, rather than a social responsibility.
Indian Football Team recently won the Nehru Cup for the third conjugative time beating Cameroon 5-4 (7-6) in the penalties. Cameroon is a team ranked 110 places ahead of India in the FIFA rankings. Though, the team was not in its full strength with the likes of Samuel Eto missing, yet beating such a team is always an achievement for a team like India. Thus, it was expected that, this achievement would get significant media coverage, and thus would mobilize support for the game in India.
But what actually transpired was quite disappointing. Some News Channel didn’t even care to put the news even in the update bar. Forget about getting the ‘Breaking News’ tag, the news of India winning did not even feature. And the limits were crossed, when certain channels were busy telecasting certain ‘Human Interest Stories’ that didn’t bear any significance at all. Choosing to ignore the victory of the national team, you are telecasting something on ‘Flying Snakes’, how stupid can be that.
Now consider a similar situation in Cricket. Suppose India won a series against Netherlands, the victory will feature in almost every news channel in a 30 minute feature. Isn’t that a complete injustice, where you are suppressing the interest of a mass of people, who are of course less comparative to the people supporting cricket, but isn’t India a country which follows ‘Right to Equality’ concept. Or when it comes to media, the equality concept perishes.
Another example would be the Durand Cup 2012 coverage. It is very pitiful to write that Asia’s oldest football tournament, which has completed 125th year of existence this year, has been neglected totally by the media. As someone who was present in the ground covering the media, ask me how sad it was to see empty stands and players fighting it out in the ground. How would to expect people to be the ground, when you don’t even have someone from the media to cover them, in fact how would to expect people to know? Though towards the later time, some journalists do joined me, but I actually never saw any feature story on any national newspaper. It was only after the tournament ended that most of the papers gave a report of the whole tournament, while the News Channels rather chose to ignore whole of the event.
The grievance of mine is quite plain and simple. Many news channel argue with the fact that, they would showcase something that is of mass human interest, i.e. something that gets them TRP. They even say that, football in India deserve coverage only when they do something big. So, I guess they are waiting for a day when India would be beating Spain and then they would be telecasting a feature the story.
I agree, there is a business sense associated with News Telecast. But have the people actually forgotten about the Social responsibility they carry. Isn’t it a responsibility of the media to uplift the game in India? They can launch campaign to help a small child trapped in a bore well, and telecast hours of live coverage, but can’t prepare a 3 minutes snippet on the victory of the national team.
As someone who has been writing for sports for quite some time, I believe in equal respect and importance for each game. Be it hockey or Football, Cricket or Kabaddi, a win for the nation is always associated with the interest of certain mass of the people, be it large or small. So I believe, the media houses should crater the specific interest of the people, rather than focusing on their own interest and start looking beyond the horizons of Cricket.