Yesterday, when I heard the news that Sukumar Azhikode is no more, the first thought that came into my mind was about my reporter friend. The death of veteran writer and social activist is undoubtedly a huge loss for Kerala. But the way media covered the whole story is really pathetic. I’m so sorry to say the press celebrated his illness without giving any clemency to this cancer patient
To know more about the news coverage, I called up my friend. When I called her, she was relieved from the duty as the dead body of Azhikode was moved from Thrissur. She was assigned to report each and every incident happening in the hospital where Azhikode was admitted. According to her, all the representatives of Malayalam channels and newspapers and a few from national media had camped in front of the hospital room from last Saturday onwards. They stayed there without proper food, rest or toilet facilities. “Actually one of the news channels started giving news stories regarding Azhikode’s illness. As a result, we were also forced to report that.” Says my friend. Even she felt the way it was covered was too harsh.
When I think from a media point of view, it is right. Channels exaggerated each moment of this newsmaker from beginning till the end as it had viewers to watch it eagerly. If a particular channel or journal refuse to cover this story on humanitarian background, their rating will go down. Again, the media that covers as many reports in as many angles as possible will get maximum TRP. After all, everyone wants themselves to prosper. Leaving all aspects of journalist, as a fellow news observer, I believe the way the media showered stories especially Azhikode’s very personal things is a little unethical.
Anyway, now everything is over. When a reporter of Times of India visited Sukumar Azhikode in hospital, he said, “You have reported many of Azhikode's speeches in the past. Now you will have to report the `Silence' of Azhikode." That is the end of a famous legend. Today, once the funeral is over, no media will follow him again. The reporters who went to cover the story out of pressure, the media people who waited outside Amala hospital and those who prayed for that death to happen soon in order to go back home can all take rest. Meanwhile, the channel and newspaper owners can look for the next person to be hospitalized and prepare their obituaries.