Thursday, April 22, 2010

The IPL and the media have put me in a fix.

The Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) initiated by the World Association for Christian Communication brought together people all around the world to find out how the media covered various groups of people. In this instance it sought to find how women were covered in the media. The media has its inverted pyramid style way of looking at the world in which the rich, famous, powerful and beautiful are given maximum space. The bizarre, untoward, adventurous and unnatural are then given the next bits of space while the poor, women and children often have to fight to find a fleeting mention. The findings of the GMMP strengthened the argument that less than 20% of stories focus solely on women.

These days the English news channels in India are in frenzy over the IPL. After Tharoor and Sunanda setting the air waves on fire, the Modi fire is becoming too hot to handle. Stories of fund embezzlements, hastily patched up front companies, shady real estate deals and income tax department raids are all coming out by the minute and second. So much that the viewer who misses an hour misses myriad twists in the story. Soon we will be exposed to the private life of Lalit Modi, his extravagant life style and how he build his IPL castle. So much IPL that anything else has almost gone into oblivion. Everyone is found asking, “Did you watch the IPL match?” It sounds like I might be labelled unnatural if I don’t watch the IPL and hope for an IPL team for my state.

The frenzy over the IPL is so much that everyone in one way or the other is involved with it. Some by going to the stadiums, some by watching matches on T.V., few by supporting Tharoor, and others by following the IPL related news. The IPL is stirring the imagination of the media audience. But it also shows that the IPL has changed cricket in India and it has used the media to this effect. It has changed cricket which had ‘use value’ to cricket which now has ‘exchange value’. This is why the IPL is gobbling up all that print space and invading the air waves. The exchange has been made! We the audience have thus been ‘commodified’ and given a price tag. The critique of religion as the opium for the masses has now undergone a change to IPL as the opium for the masses.

It is this that the poor, the helpless women and the powerless children of this country don’t have: ‘exchange value.’ They have use value but that is not enough for the main stream media and for us. We therefore neglect them by not speaking about them, not writing about them and not reading about them. They don’t give us the ‘fix’ we need. That is provided by the cheer leaders, bright lights, colour and entertainment. As a country we are living in a fix. We expect religion, movies and sports to be our opium. Therefore the politicians, religious leaders, earning middle and upper middle class, business community and different media are all responsible for the IPL dirty linen that is now being washed in public. I don’t know whether we will be able to come out of this perpetual fix! Maybe we don’t want to?


AKKU said...

A good article...'Exchange Value'-a universal truth through which we are leading our life but hard to accept that " no good deeds are done from selflessness "

Fr Jerry said...

Yes indeed. Everything is measured in terms of whether it is sale-able and how much money it will make. Money speaks loud and clear instead of good deeds and sacrifice. I wonder whether this is the progress we all want and what hidden price we have to pay for the gains we make!

renjith said...


Fr Jerry said...