There are so many news TV channels in so many Indian languages that they are in a constant race to attract a more or less fixed base of viewers who also have the option of watching entertainment shows, movies, and sports apart from OTT platforms.
This race has prompted many news TV channels to focus more on controversial and politically and ideologically divisive issues to attract more and more eyeballs.
This often leads to unsavoury controversies, like the one recently generated by a former BJP spokesperson during a prime-time TV debate. Provoked by insulting remarks against Lord Shiva, she allegedly made offensive remarks against the Prophet of Islam.
This not only triggered a global controversy but also led to her suspension from the party. However, many Indians seem to be of the opinion that it is high time news TV channels stopped airing shows and debates that promote or lead to more communal polarisation. This was revealed during a nationwide survey conducted by C-Voter on behalf of IANS to gauge the mood of ordinary Indians on the issue. Overall, 77 percent of the respondents felt TV channels should stop airing communally polarising shows while 23 percent were of the opinion that it was all right for TV channels to do the same. There was remarkable consensus among Indians that cut across political divides.
While more than 78 percent of opposition supporters felt TV channels must shun divisive shows and debates, more than 75 percent of NDA supporters felt the same. The youth were more inclined to support this sentiment with 80 percent of respondents between the age of 18-, and 24-years saying TV channels need to avoid airing divisive debates while 71 percent of those above 55 years felt the same. C-Voter surveys have consistently shown that ordinary Indians are more concerned with bread-and-butter issues like unemployment and inflation.
By ignoring them, some TV channels could be losing viewers in the long run in their quest for short-term TRP gains.