If you’re an average newspaper reading, TV watching, Facebook scrolling, modern individual, there is a high chance that you would have come across a report on either a horrific rape incident or a terrible suicide case.
Like the recent Burari mass suicide or the rape of an Italian woman in Mumbai.
These cases have increased in frequency and horror recently, with the latest case always increasingly scarier than the previous one. If an alien was to visit earth and gauge our society by reading our news, it would have a grim picture of humankind.
But is that really the case? Have we actually become more depraved and dangerous as a society which poses more of a threat to its citizens than previous generations? Or is there a different reason?
My theory goes like this. This depravity has existed in society in earlier times as well. People, unfortunately, did commit heinous crimes and killed themselves just as much as they do right now. There is no real change in that metric.
The change in the metric that has taken place is the penetration of media, largely social media into India’s hinterland. According to Statista, India has 462 million active internet users as of January 2018. That’s nearly half of the population!
This has increased both the quality and quantity of reportage. Places that earlier could not communicate the crimes that took place there, now can with relative ease.
The most obvious conclusion of this is that all the unreported cases were not so anymore and that the actual extent of crimes taking place finally has become clear, nothing else.
We can expect these cases to ‘increase’ as internet penetration increases in India. As news organizations and the government has access to more and more data from all across the country, the statistics for these incidents has a chance of increasing.
But there is a caveat that I believe we should also take into account. That being the lack of positive news in media and saturation with negative news. It’s not as if positive things do not occur, it’s my belief that they do not get reported.
Negative news like rapes and suicides have more of a shock value and keep viewers and reader engaged.
News channels can push out content like ‘Maut ka bathtub’ and the public just laps it up. They over dramatize the coverage and essentially turn it into a soap opera to grab eyeballs and generate revenue.
They do not have an incentive to report a lot of positive news because viewers won’t come and stick to their platform for that.
Instead, if they have the horrific details of the incidents that we have talked about, the public’s interest is triggered and they flood the news space.
Both of these factors, the increase in data and the incentive to promote negative news has led to the saturation of our media with gloomy and bleak coverage.
Image Source: Google Images
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