76% Say There Is More Quarrel Than Debate In News Channels

Amid raging debate over debates in news channels following the death of a Congress spokesperson recently, the party lodged complaints with the NBA and other bodies. Congress spokesman Rajiv Tyagi had died of a heart attack in August soon after finishing an intense discussion on a Hindi news channel on the violence in Bengaluru.

The IANS CVoter Media Tracker finds that people think that there is unnecessary quarrel in news channels in the name of debates.

As many as 76 per cent of the respondents said that there is more quarrelling in television debates rather than a meaningful exchange of ideas.

The respondents were of view that these debates are often fashioned upon World War I style trench warfare whereby clearly identified combatants (debaters) dig in and try to outshout the other side.

When the survey asked if “there is more quarrelling and screaming than real debate on TV news channels, a whopping 76 per cent responded in the affirmative, including 77.1 per cent male respondents and 74.9 per cent female respondents .

A total of 79.7 per cent upper caste Hindus, 94 per cent Christians, and over 78 per cent Muslims believed that there is no meaningful debate on TV, while 71.6 per cent OBC and 73.9 per cent SC/ST said that there is more quarrel than debate.

The trend is more or less similar in urban and rural India. As per the survey, almost 75 per cent people in urban areas and around 77 per cent people in rural areas think that there is more quarrel than debate on TV.

In the age category, around 75 per cent in the age group of 18 to 44 years think that there is no meaningful debate on TV news channels.

The findings are consistent with prior responses whereby the audience had hinted at fungibility between general entertainment channels and the electronic news media.

If people view these shows for entertainment and treat them in a lighter sense, then the implications for the advertisers are huge.

As many as 54 per cent of the respondents admitted to being tired of watching news channels, while 43 per cent disagreed. The number stands in contrast to the nearly three-fourth majority enjoyed by the critics of news channels across other questions.

The survey had a sample size of of 5,000 plus respondents from across India covering all the districts in all the states, representing the demographic profile according to the latest census figures.

The interviews were conducted in the last week of September and the first week of October 2020. The margin of error is +/- 3 per cent at the national level and +/- 5 per cent at the regional levels.