Why is it that in India the media is so negative and wants to sensationalise everything?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is nothing new; this is what we have inherited from the freedom movement. Because when we were slaves, when India was ruled by the British, our media had this tendency to blame everything and it was necessary. It was necessary to show a bleak picture of what was happening in the country. But that continued even after independence; the same mindset continued. This is the difference if you see between the international media and Indian media.
We are happy blaming ourselves. We are very happy showing negative things about ourselves. Once I was in a conference in Europe; there, one European journalist asked me this question, ‘I cannot understand why Indian media is so negative about its people and its country.’ In a way, he expressed wonder about it and he appreciated it also in some way. Here you don’t need someone from outside to come and criticise; you are good enough in doing that job. We can criticise ourselves. So, having said that, there is one positive aspect of it but a lot of negative aspects — that it shows a country in very, very poor light.
If you see the crime that happens in New York city — it is manifold times more than crime in whole of India. There are 50,000 homeless people in Los Angeles. The Art of Living is actually feeding them; we had a programme to provide 50,000 food packets in the city of Los Angeles. So we know what the situation is, over there. In LA, there are 50,000 people who live under bridges, living in rags. You will not find even one of them written about in newspapers. Three million people, more than one per cent of America’s population, are beggars. Have you ever heard about it? Have you ever seen it in any of their news? You will not. But the image of India is that there are snakes and dead bodies on the road. People are afraid to send youth to India; parents get paranoid.
A small country like Greece gets 12 million tourists every year. India gets four million. And we have many more things to see. People are happy to send their children to Thailand or Cambodia which are worse than India. This is because of our negative publicity. So we need that orientation in this country. It is not all only negative; there are a lot of positive things as well. You can’t be given only good and sweet things — that is also not right. We will be doomed then; it is better than having only sweet-sweet things! There always needs to be a balance.
Media has two things to do. One is to keep the situation in front of you as it is; keep the facts. Second is inspire people to do better. This dual role has to be played with balance. That is necessary. If you see the amount of conflicts that exist in other countries, even rape, murder, all these crimes, India’s number is much, much better.
When the Nirbhaya case happened, it was flashed all over the world, creating panic among tourists. But more than this happens in America, in Europe. But that is not highlighted in the way that they do it here. We have not gone international in journalism yet — we need to go (international).
Be Objective And Dispassionate
We are very emotional. The media has to highlight both the positive and negatives of an event.
Positive things have to be given more weightage and negative things should not be sensationalised or reported with added masala.
Sridhar G Mandyam
Politicians Are Guilty Too
Even our own prime minister is guilty of this. He has made comments which show India in poor light.
India As A Punching Bag
India is the punching bag for all, yet it nourishes and sustains plenty of good.
Victims Of Spiritual Poverty
We need to improve our mindset and say we love India. There are negative blogs on ST, too, presenting negatives of religion. These are writings by victims of spiritual poverty.
The Gloomy Side Of Things
There are two kinds of people says Paramhansa Yogananda — those governed by a never-say-die spirit, who are ready to face challenges and those who always see the gloomy side of things, who worry and lack confidence.
Criticism Leads To Positive Action
Critics are necessary and their comments lead to new innovations and a new way of thinking. But excessive criticism has led to a brain drain from the country. Blaming ourselves helps to work on our negativity and overcome social evils. The present trend of positive action is a result of this.
Our Hidden Enemies
In India does not need enemies from outside — we have enough of them within, including our own politicians who are in power. Let us all rise above serving our self-interest.
Everyone Is Both Good And Bad
Every country has its own richness and let us be admired for who we are.
We Must Do Sewa
It should be made compulsory to serve the country for at least a year. This will rekindle passion for the country.