One of the sad things about being away from India is that you miss the spectacle of news channels trying to make the most unimportant and tasteless news into a delicacy that promises to change your life forever! Don’t the nostalgic flashbacks of news anchors shouting at the top of their voice never fail to bring warmth to your heart too?

So, what do all you NRIs who want to stay connected to the “pulse” of your mother India do? You type in timesofindia(dot)com. (I am deliberately avoiding a direct link to the site as I don’t want to be cursed for 3days when you will be in bed with that headache that just won’t go away!)

In a brief moment, as your life flashes before you, Times Of India website loads up. In it, you see a bunch of naked women, a few outright adult articles, a whole section of news on who killed who, who kissed who, who got naked, who didn’t get naked but is shouting foul etc etc. Somewhere in that pile of words, you will find, and I don’t promise this, a few actual “news” articles. The kind which, apart from getting you some great bedroom ideas, have the potential of changing your life.

In essence, in Times Of India world, Manmohan Singh takes a backseat; wars are boring too; and Anna Hazaare and his chums playing kabaddi with Mr. Sibal are “too routine” to make the cut. So what if world is at the brink of another financial meltdown, for the editors of Times of India, why “Mrs. Australia bares all” is just as important a news.

It is indeed saddening to see how Times Of India website which started out as an authentic source of news a few years ago has been reduced a mere tabloid in a race to garner more page views. But, I don’t blame them entirely, for we, the readers also have contributed to a large extent to its fate. I mean, Times Of India is just showing what we want to see!

I don’t have the official numbers but I can bet my dog’s food that Katrina Kaif’s sexy pics on Times Of India would garner a lot many more visits than an article on Anna Hazaare trying to provide our next generation a better India to live in. The question to ask here is, will we let our print media degenerate into a icon of meaningless journalism? Are we are so sexually deprived that we want the front page of the leading newspaper of our nation to be full of gossips and nudity? If so, then we as a nation might not be deserving of all that we could become.

Print media and hence its internet form by extension have been considered one of the vectors of social awakening. Times Of India website has estimated 530,000 visitors everyday! To me, just that number should render the editors of Times of India website the responsibility of sensible and not sensationalist journalism. I am not a communist and I understand the monetary pressures behind article selection; but the fact is, as a newspaper, Times Of India first and foremost has a duty to the people of the great nation of India. One of being a beacon of accurate, newsworthy, trustworthy, thought-provoking, unbiased information which can be called “news” in truest sense of the word.

Only when Times Of India fulfills that responsibility, will burdening its visitors with tabloid articles ever be justified.

Since I doubt it’ll happen, I will neither expect nor dare stop you from watching that latest article on how to be “a great husband” or “10 things to say to him in bed”.

Have fun!
– Arpit

P.S. It feels good to be back to writing articles for Naam to Batao again!