Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Breaking (apart the) News!

Genre: Current Affairs

The ghastly train collision between Mewad Express and Goa Express near Mathura yesterday once again gave the Indian news channels fodder to go into an overdrive of over-reacting, broadcasting unverified blasphenous theories and in general create an atmosphere of chaos and confusion among the common junta who tends to believe whatever is said in news as the truth.

The background - Yesterday around 04:45am IST, Vasco-Nizamuddin Goa Express rammed into Udaipur-Nizamuddin Mewad Express outside Mathura in Uttar Pradesh resulting in the death of more than 25 passengers and injuring hundreds of others. The reason for the accident is not known but prima facie it looks like the Loco Pilot of Goa Express overshot a red signal resulting in rear-end collision with Mewad Express waiting ahead. As soon as the news about the accident spread, all the "intelligent" news channels were out in the field reporting their own "theories" and "exclusive reports" about the cause of the accident in what seemed like a competition to prove their Stupidity Quotient. Sample this-

So, first we have Times Now with a reporter shouting from the accident site, starting off with "This Goa Kranti blah blah" and two minutes later, re-christening the train - " here you see Goa Sampark Express.. blah blah" without giving a damn to the goof-up. Goa Sampark Kranti Express is a completely different train from the Goa Express which was involved in the collision. Imagine the plight of relatives of passengers travelling by Goa Sampark Kranti Express who would be getting all worried about the whereabouts of their loved ones after seeing this report when the fact is that the train mentioned by the reporter was thousand kilometeres away from the accident site!

Next comes NDTV's coverage (Click for Video) who went one step ahead and caught hold of an ignorant passenger who, only too eager to be on TV, cooked up an impromptu, absolutely illogical absurd "theory" claiming that the driver was not driving Goa Express properly and kept on changing tracks frequently (as if the train is an auto-rickshaw on a crowded street) resulting in the collision. I do not blame the poor passenger for not knowing that changing tracks is not under the control of the train driver- it is automatically monitored from control towers; but NDTV should have atleast taken the effort to verify if this theory is plausible before broadcasting it on national television.

There were reports that someone pulled the Emergency Chain in Mewad Express causing it to halt on the tracks and Goa Express running right behind had no time to stop and rammed into Mewad Express from behind. But IBN thought this is not juicy enough, so they decided to add a filmy twist to the tale- their version of the accident claims that there was a dreaded dacoit from Kota being transported in Mewad Express who decided to flee from running train. So, the police on board pulled the Emergency Chain to chase the dacoit but he managed to run away! Wow! Let's have a big round of applause!

And then comes the greatest of them all- Aaj Tak! After spending around five minutes shouting in their typical style, begins the "insightful discussion" on the cause of the collision where a reporter shouts at the top of his voice "The biggest question we are asking is...Why were both trains running on the same track? The adjacent track was empty... why did the driver of Goa Express not turn his train to the adjacent track???" What the hell! Even a school kid knows that on double track sections, one track is for Up trains and other is for Down trains. It's not some Delhi road where you can drive in any lane as per your wish!

Enough! Stop it you bloody idiots! It's high time these publicity-hungry channels are taken to task for making a complete mockery of news reporting. My heart goes out to the Loco Pilot of Goa Express and the Guard of Mewad Express who bore the most serious brunt, and to all the passengers who lost their lives in this unfortunate accident.

P.S.: I am still waiting to hear India TV's take on this. If someone finds it, please let me know.

P.P.S. (for railfans only): The damaged loco is GZB WAP-4 #22723


  1. Yes, the Indian media is becoming a big comedy circus these days. Its becoming a favorite national pasttime to publish news without verifying the authenticity of it.

    Btw, I too am keen on knowing the version that was played on 'India TV'. Of course, you cant ignore the fact that this train accident was real news since people died in the accident. So its quite possible that India TV completely skipped this news.

  2. Very well said. Even I saw the news clip which showed an ignorant person saying that the driver was not driving properly and was changing tracks too frequently! How come, the reporter, the cameramen, the new editor and the news anchor completely took this in? Do not they know, drivers cannot change tracks and it is the control room that does it?

    Journalism is the profession of illiterates - G.B. Shaw

  3. IMHO (and I have said this numerous journalist friends to their faces!), "To call Journalists 'scoundrels' is insulting the real scoundrels."

  4. The weird part : The police had some moron trapped in the train who ran away by jumping out of the window. The cops tried to "pull chain to stop train" and it almost slowed down. This other train comes from the back "on the same track" and hits it causing double damage. Now, all they are focussing on is how'd the train come on the same damn track? I guess the cop's insensitivity causing harm to so many lives doesn't count to the indian media.

  5. Indeed tne indian media has gone bonkers these days but aaj tak's report really takes the biscuit(read as height of nonsense). Btw, india tv was busy reporting the whereabouts of the fools in the bigg boss house at that time alongwith some nonsense of the end of the earth. I must have missed it when they actually might have showed the report on it.(?)

  6. Well said. TV channels become comedies during tragedies.

  7. well written and said. everything s a big tamasha for the indian news tv ppl. thats how they can make money. cook up wilder stories than the next channel. Poor indian viewers. :(

  8. @Adil

    Yeah, quite possible that India TV didn't show any interest in this "real" news!


    A majority of Indian junta lives under the myth that there must be a steering wheel inside the "engine" by which driver can switch tracks. So, cant blame the villager. But yes, NDTV should have atleast bothered to verify the facts before putting it up on TV

  9. @Uttam

    Very true!


    Poline pulling chain to catch a thief running away into the fields... sounds juicy, ain't it? So, that's what goes on air!

  10. @wcam3

    Come on dude! Don't you realise lives of Bigg Boss inmates is more important than that of poor passengers who were killed!


    I agree.

  11. BREAKING NEWS : Aaj Tak does it again!

    In the freak accident in Thane where a water pipe fell on a local train killing the motorman and few passengers, Aaj Tak proudly claims that the "driver" (aka motorman) was saved from the debris!
    Click here for video


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