The degrading TV talk shows


The degrading TV talk shows

Bishaldeep Kakati | July 21, 2018 18:48 hrs

With the advent of technology, people nowadays have become globally more aware, with the mindset to develop their knowledge regarding crucial/pivotal issues concerning the society. And that is the reason, more often than not, that people express their views and opinions verbally sometimes (especially on TV talk shows) or via detailed written analysis otherwise. 


Now, if we bring into consideration expression of views over TV talk shows, we will notice that these talk shows, of late, have created a great deal of consternation more because of certain outrageous acts committed by some panellists. But prior to discussing this topic further, let us have a clear idea about the actual constitution of a talk show.


A talk show can be defined as, “a staging, where a topic is to be discussed/debated by a group of people known as panellists and there also exists a person known as the host or anchor who initiates the topic under discussion with the motive of seeking the views of the panellists.” However, in the present scenario, a few more execrable elements also get attached with talk shows. Elements like violence, indecency, moral deficiency, hollering and most importantly, the tendency to impose one’s views on another (irrespective of whether they are logical or not) have indeed become some of the distressing factors in modern talk shows. 



Nevertheless, despite all these, talk shows are still popular among the people only because the bevy wants to form or develop their opinions on crucial topics by watching a particular talk show. Even news channels are giving due importance in airing the same. But the point that we need to ponder over here is: what are the factors that have actually made talk shows a necessary evil with less of ethics and zero etiquette?


The fact of the matter is that undue aggression bordering on violence has sadly become an “indispensable” facet of a talk show. The recent incident of one panellist assaulting a co-panellist over a verbal spat on the topic of ‘Triple Talaq’ has once again put a question mark on the probity of the panellists as well as on the nucleus of talk shows. And that is the reason that, with each passing day, the standard of talk shows has unfortunately degraded greatly. It’s now high time that we find solutions to solve this vexed issue and revamp the standards of talk shows.


It is a known fact that the Constitution of India, via its article 19(1) (a), guarantees all citizens the freedom of speech and expression. An elaborate explanation of this would mean that any citizen of India has the right to express his views or opinions either verbally or in writing. And for the enforcement of this provision, the talk shows are quite important. But somewhere down the line, while enjoying the rights guaranteed by this article, people tend to forget the restrictions that are also imposed by the Constitution on the freedom of speech and expression. Article 19(2) of the Indian Constitution clearly mentions that the freedom of speech and expression can only be enjoyed without disturbing the security of the state, public order, decency, morality etc and also without causing a clear case of defamation or incitement to an offence. But it seems that certain panellists, who are invited to talk shows, never care to remember these restrictions as a result of which they indulge in wrangles and brawls only to create some diabolic scenarios. Moreover, under the eyes of law, an injury to the reputation of a person by venting a defamatory statement - by words or gestures - is known as slander (defamation). According to law of torts, slander is actionable on proof of special damage. So basically, by attacking one another, the panellists in the talk shows do more civil wrongs than find solutions through healthy discussions.


Added to this, in India, we had a wonderful and strong tradition of reasoned and well-structured philosophical discussion known as ‘Katha.’ ‘Katha’ was again divided into ‘Vaada’ ‘Jalpa’ and ‘Vitandaa’. In Vaada form of debate, an effort is made to listen to the views of all the people peacefully and then come to a logical conclusion. Jalpa, on the other hand, is a tricky debate, in which a debater is thoroughly convinced that he is right and the other is wrong. The last one is Vitandaa, is where a person has no theory of his own to put forward or defend, but only tries to inflict defeat on his opponent or humiliate/demolish him. Indeed today, there is more Vitandaa than Vaada, and that is the primary reason for degradation of the talk shows.


However, for a democratic country like India, discussions and deliberations are quite important and so the importance of talk shows cannot be discarded. But in order to maintain the dignity of talk shows, the panellists must display better behaviour and discuss the crucial topics broadly so that it can enrich the viewers as well as help the government take important decisions based on their critical analysis. Only then will the actual intention of talk shows remain intact.

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