News channels spent most of their time yesterday talking about the new Direct Tax Code. It's wonderful how often and how quickly the government tweaks and sharpens its financial instruments.
Meanwhile the country's judicial system remains a rusting and blunt knife, as is
clear from the Bhopal Gas Verdict.
Last night CNN IBN was the one channel which continued to keep Bhopal and its victims as the top story. Editor in chief Rajdeep Sardesai aired clips of his visit to the affected area, where he spoke to survivors.
Visuals of the children born handicapped, deformed, unable to speak - a generation later - are absolutely heart rending.
And they are suffering, not just because of Union Carbide.
For the last 26 years residents of the area have been drinking contaminated water. So in effect they have been poisoning themselves - every single day!
And victims or activists who have raised their voices against this and other injustices have been harassed. 60 and 70 year old women who marched in protest are now visiting court every month, as cases of 'rioting' have been upon them.
But guess what - you wouldn't know all this if you hadn't watched CNN IBN last night. And how much impact can a single channel make?
The gas tragedy and the tragic state of its victims is a national shame, which all media should be covering relentlessly. If all major print & TV networks deputed a good reporter to camp in Bhopal, all kinds of horrific stories would be uncovered.
There would be pressure on the government and civil society to 'do something'.
But in this hyper-competitive world, every newshound is busy sniffing out his or her own 'exclusive story'.
Hindi channels are following their own scheme of priorities.
The newspapers have moved Bhopal off the front page, pretty much.
No media house has given a clarion call for 'candlelight vigil'.
Warren Anderson will die with a guilty conscience but what about the rest of us?
If the government and the offending company cannot cough up money and medicine to improve victims' quality of life (or rather punishment period on this earth) - can an alternative be found by citizens?
Is there some NGO which lets people 'adopt an affected child' - pay for his or her treatment and upbringing?
It's not fair of course, but it's something.
Maybe the new direct tax code can add a special EEE and make it more 'attractive'.