When I wrote about the Gaya self immolation incident (“Did they burn him alive“) more than a month ago, I thought I caught a budding ‘controversy’ early enough to earn my blog a lot of traffic. But that wasn’t to be :) and I have tried to figure why.
See, that story doesn’t have the necessary ingredients to make it to the 6 to 9 pm news slot each evening.
First up, the person who died happened to be a man. When women play lead ‘role’ in a homicide (accused or deceased), the story has a better shot at popularity. Actually, if good-looking women die, it’s a given.
The incident took place in a Tier II city (Gaya) of a Tier III state (Bihar). That is a big no no! A person dying in a mid-rung city of Bihar, we don’t care. Tell me if more than 20 die one shot. Or tell me if the deceased or accused had anything to with Mr Laloo Yadav. Otherwise, get lost. We do care for singular deaths, but only if those happen in Kashmir or by RDX. Terrorism ‘sells’ better you know.
There is one other way stories from places like Gaya can make it to prime-time national news. The deceased should be an alumnus of IIT or IIM. Yes, that sells well, ask our newsmen. If you are smart, you may get the hidden message here, which is this. If you aren’t from IIT or IIM, and you are fast turning into a crusader against corruption (road work, petrol adulteration and all that stuff), your upcoming death may just not count. Just beware, that’s all.
And now for the last, perhaps most relevant thing about this case. Media itself is the ‘accused’ party. Then, how do you expect them to delve deeper into it? I mean they are under trial (I hope the Gaya FIR has lead to a trial), and it is our justice system’s long-standing tradition that once the case is underway, accused don’t make their stands and contentions public. Our goody good media is honoring the tradition, “accused must be tried in courts, not in public media“.
What say, did I miss anything? I mean do you have any more reasons for why the “Gaya self-immolation case” is not seeing more glory in our news media?