Monday, June 28, 2010

(Spoil) Sport Reporting in India!

India, the land of rich culture and traditions, land of enthusiastic people, fervent fans and dedicated followers. Indians have a unique quality of idolizing, they do it with extreme faith and trust. We are dotting lovers, admirers and followers. From politics to cinema to sports to religion, you name it and there will be lakhs drooling out with passionate devotion. 

Amongst this, sports after Bollywood unites the country. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, one will hardly find a person who do not play or follow one or the other kind of sport. Be it local kabaddi match to international cricket tournament to indoor games like Ludo, carrom to swimming and badminton, people find out time from their busy schedules for their favorite sport. 

Cashing on this fervent nature of Indian audience, many industries are flourishing. Amongst this is, news industry which had shown major boom in last two decades. Print and Electronic media are the two major sources of news in the the country. Print mainly comprises of newspapers and magazines whereas TV, radio and internet comes under the gigantic umbrella of electronic media. These channels of information provide enormous amount of knowledge on varied topics. But when it comes to sports, CRICKET is the only sport they know about. 

There are special bulletins on news channels, special pages dedicated to cricket in newspapers and magazines, radio jockeys (private FM radio stations) talking non-stop about cricket. Literally, Indian news industry eats, drinks, sleeps and show cricket. Though, there are many instances where news channel cover other games also but not as religiously as they do 'vishesh programmes' on cricket. 

Sania Nehwal is in news because she won Indonesian cup, Vishwanathan Anand appears in headlines only when he wins a competition. Same is the story with Sania Mirza , Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi, Narain Karthikeyan, Vijendra Singh and Abhinav Bindra. Bhaichung Bhutia made news not because of his football but because he was dancing on the tunes of reality television. These names emerge because these people were able to create their mark internationally and then acknowledged in this cricket crazy country. One tends to forget Indian women cricket team, hockey players, football team all together. Who talks about Sushil Kumar(Wrestling), Achanta Sharth Kamal (Table Tennis), Dola Bannerjee (Archery), Joshna Chinappa(Squash) name a few. 

BUT this is not the case with cricket. Cricket players are in news in whatever they are doing. The celebrity status and modelling career is promised to each and every entrant in Indian Cricket team because of excessive publicity of sport by media as compared to any other sport. It owes to media when children today say that Cricket is the national sport of India. 

Media needs to understand that its not cricket which constitutes sport in India. All forms of sports need to be covered equally. India is a host to one of the biggest sporting events of the world i.e. Commonwealth Games. But one can scarcely see coverage on sports and players participating in the games. Even the journey of Queen's Baton is not being traced now when it's in India by so called 24X7 news channels as compared to DD News which  have special coverages on Commonwealth games. On the contrary, FIFA is the synonym of sports for news channels these days.

Anything and everything is possible and can be promoted well if media wants it to be. When players from other sports are making their mark globally, it becomes loud and clear that cricket is not the only sport played and followed in India. It's high time that media should get away with step-motherly treatment and give equal attention to other sports. 

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