What Headlines convey – choices made while reporting news

In the world of Mobiles and lack of time, headlines can mean a lot…. and if not proper or complete it can look bad… the question is are these headlines intentionally incomplete? …  I want to share with you the same news reported today by two leading news channels…. and some personla thoughts surrounding it

Today I woke up reading the following news that came as headlines and excerpt straight into my mobile…. In a mobile as you know you only get a few seconds to glance on the main news…

Here is what came on my mobile from NDTV
Fatwas are political-religious views, can’t interfere, says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has said that it cannot interfere with fatwas or religious decrees issued by Muslim clerics. “These are political-religious issues. We can’t decide them. In this country some people believe Gangajal can cure all ailments. It is a matter of belief,” the top court said while reserving verdict on a petition against Shariat courts and their fatwas.
Read the complete Article

I was concerned… because that was not right…. I personally believe Fatwas or any religious decree from any religion for that matter interferes with basic freedom of choice individuals have been given in our society… so when the supreme court says it can’t interfere as they are religious and political issues that is a big concern…
That time I had not read the entire news… so later on I decided to dig in to know more….

I found the same news reported in Indian Express and it said
Fatwa can’t be forced upon people: Supreme Court
“Fatwa issued by Muslim clerics cannot be forced upon people and the state has to protect persons who are harassed for not following such dictates, the Supreme Court today said while expressing reservation in interfering with Shariat courts.”
Read Complete News

The second report made more sense even when you read the headlines. though many would not agree with the reservation the court has…. including me and in my opinion except the justice system in the country religions or private parties should not have the power to enforce law….

Both these news items report the same news and what I have mentioned above is what information someone gets when they read the title and the initial introductory lines…

Do you think there is a problem here..? …. beyond the fatwa… beyond whether supreme court is right or wrong… I think there is a problem..… because at a time when people respond and react before they can comprehend I think the message title and initial intro to any news item has so much relevance and importance in our byte sized twitterized lifestyle….

I kept thinking what made both these news channels decide to report the news quite differently…. has it got to do with the inherent philosophy of what news reporting is about for these two channels… or did it have to do with how competitive the news market is now….

The responsibility of News reporting is not just to report facts but also report it in such a way that it does not confuse people… even if they are just reading the title….. not all have the time or interest to delve deeper in many issues and there are many among us who react or pass judgement on a peripheral knowledge….

May be the idea was to add the spice to the news… but is that all that is about news…. agreed that circulation has been replaced by eyeballs…. but in the quest to earn more eyeballs will our reporters lose the core reason of why they exist…

Many would say that maintaining peace is not the responsibility of the news media…. debatable…. but there is also a responsibility on what sentence to pick…. In our current time the details in an article is like the fine print in credit card offers…. not many go through it…. and then a ruckus starts on social media….. and people end up relying on social media comments than on actual facts….

I might be totally wrong here….. but I think it was worth mentioning that news channels hold a choice (a moral responsibility) on how they report what they report…. If I had not checked on the news from different sources in more detail….. I think I would have had a different unwanted perspective of the facts… Both news channels reported the same news and did not hide anything… but sometimes the headlines and introductory lines can be misleading

I follow NDTV regularly….. a regular reader… so this is not a blame… but an observation on a report on an important issue…

Categories: Articles, Articles & Opinions, News, Society

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