media

It is a common refrain in the country that news has declined in content and quality. Social media is full of debate on the issue since innovations like the paid news and scandals like Radia tape. A common thread of concern is that the media is scandalizing, preaching and serving the masses a low comedy in the  name of news  than informing which is its primary task.

How has this de-generation come about?

In a democracy News opens up a reality to people on which they can act. The journalist’s task is to inform about that reality by presenting facts from more than one perspective so that people can form an opinion and choose their rulers.

However, lately the news is being prevented from reaching the masses. This is done by stopping the journalist from gathering and presenting the news.

The data compiled by Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) suggest that since 1992, 71 media persons have been killed in the country with hardly any punishment. A report by media watch website the hoot suggests that in 2010-16, 23 journalists have been murdered. There has been only one conviction in which an appeal is pending.

Apparently, central and state governments are not protecting journalists and once harmed they government does not take interest in ensuring justice thus encouraging their purge. Ironically, journalist is merely a messenger going about his duty. Shooting the messenger was never so true than now.

Furthermore, governments do not want news to reach the masses therefore using  defamation laws against journalists.  For example, during 2001-6 Jayalalitha government filed about 120 defamation cases against media. The DMK government that followed her was no less better filing over hundred defamation cases against the media and the present government recently arrested a cartoonist for highlighting plight of poor at the hands of money lenders in rural Tamil Nadu.

Big business is another enemy of news and the journalist.

Pranjoy Guha Thakurta had to resign from the editorship of the Economic and Political Weekly , under the threat of a legal suit. He has also received defamation notices from lawyers of Mukesh and Anil Ambani led Reliance industries after he self published Gas WarsCrony Capitalism and the Ambanis.

Corporatization of news

Corporate treat news as a commodity that can be made packaged and sold defining news upside down. On the contrary, news cannot be manufactured; news happens.

The major task of corporate media is to suppress the news as it happens and replace it with manufactured commodity in that proportion and serve it to its audience that  buy their other products too.

Corporate control and regulate the flow of the news in the country now. Mukesh Ambani led Reliance group has taken over network eighteen group of companies and has invested about $ 6 billion in media sector. BCCL that runs Times group is already nearly 1.5 billion conglomerates thriving on its innovation of the paid news.

Star news is controlled by Rupert Murdoch’s century fox that is fourth largest media house of the world and primary source of news for Donald Trump, who some suspect, is the ‘liar in chief’ of the modern times.

With NDTV and Living Media, that broadcasts Aaj Tak and publish popular weekly India Today in several languages, also receiving significant corporate investments news gets sanitized off purity and sensitivity when it reaches television studios. It turns into a propaganda with an agenda.

Thus, with radio news and Doordarshan (public television network reaching 596 million of 1.3 billion) under government and rest under corporate control, 16000 times rise in fortune of the son of the ruling party chief in a year is not a news. Instead, for private major TV news channels the exploits and wisdom of convicted and current babas, Karva Chauth, Shakahari Gurugram is the  news.

This media when tasked to cover social issue such as infants’ death in hospitals, or farmer’s suicide in rural India  present a spectacle similar as shown in popular Hindi movie Peepli Live.

Another disturbing trend in India is tendency to defame and fracture the media as an institution by its own ilk.

This is borne out from the headlines like, ‘Amit Shah’s son to file 100 crore defamation suit against website’ in a prominent newspaper. The headline is disingenuous as it imputes that the news portal’s report is ambiguous and deserves a suit.   This is a case of corporate media demeaning independent media.

Reasons for optimism

Journalism will live as long as passion to bring out truth remains and journalists will create new ways to survive.

This optimism stems from testimony of a soldier like passion and courage of the journalist Rohini Singh who broke Jay Shah story.  She was trolled and threatened by the paid social media mob not withstanding that she had previously reported on Robert Vadra’s accumulation of wealth under the congress regime.

She wrote back , “My primary job is to speak truth to power. To question the government of the day”, adding, “I don’t do the sort of stories I do because I am ‘ brave’.  I do them because that’s journalism”.

So long the above spirit remains news will shine in debris of propaganda.

 Pushkar Raj is a Melbourne based researcher and author.


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One Comment

  1. samir sardana says:

    Media Ethics ? In India ?

    Media in Hindoosthan – Big Picture – North India

    This is not the USA or EU, wherein intellectuals,ideologues,idealists and philosophers,own,manage and edit newspapers.In India or Hindoosthan,the media is owned by rapacious banias,brokers and pimps,fronting for politicians and tycoons, blackmailers ,extortionists, murderers and rapists.

    In the North of India,the entire media is owned by banias,and financed by banias,politicians and political parties. It is either owned by the banias,or the bania is a front man,for the mafia or the politicians and political parties. These banias are English illiterate,and a race of liars,thieves and cheats – a race of pure Indians,id.est., they are not Rig Vedic invaders.They have atypical Indian features,and are easily identifiable.

    Media in Hindoosthan – Big Picture – South India

    In the South of Hindooland,the media is mainly owned by Political parties – as the media,is a working capital guzzler,and the media needs cash (not bank loans),to operate.With the parties in power,the government ad blitz,is done through these outlets,and the money is also bled out,to generate cash,for the politicians.As time passes,some of these media entities,are listed on stock exchanges

    The real owner of the Media and the Media Busines Model

    In essence,the actual and quasi owners of the media,are the banias and the politicians – as the revenue model, of the news,is based on advertisements – which are sourced from corporates,owned and managed by banias,or managed by brahmin/bania and kayastha
    etc..Corporate adverts,are based on TRPs – but the Govtt ad blitz and propoganda,is based on discretion of politicians,and their pimps,in the media.

    There are several loss making media outlets,in the pathetos of Hindoosthan – for decades – but they do not fold their business. Foolish people ask Y ? Several Editors and Owners,of Large media houses,and loss making media outlets – act as pimps,of the politicians.They provide access to politicians and baboos for large contracts,loans,acquisitions and licences.That is the REAL business model,and then,there is the “conversion” operation – wherein,the Politicians get paid in cash,for the Govt ad blitz done,via the media entity.The conversion is more profitable,for loss making media entities,for obvious reasons.

    The rate for rotating the cash of the politicians,is half the SBI PLR (Medium term PLR).Banks do not lend to media outlets –
    and so,the working capital of these outlets,is funded by the cash of the politicians and banias.

    Hence,the real owner of the media,is the politician and the bania financier.The Bania CEO, is meant to manage cash flow and
    has no intellectual imputs.It is thus,obvious, that the media has to peddle the line and ideology,of the politicians,and the
    ruling dispensation.

    Media Antics and Tactics

    To ring fence themselves,the Indian Media has made defamation laws – which suit their needs,and the media house is owned by a myriad maze of Trusts,NGOs,Firms,Partnerships and Corporates – which makes criminal liability,impossible.The self regulatory bodies of the Indian media,are all bogus,and are meant to dissuade the plaintiffs.The media vermin,can destroy any politician,and also, any Judge – and so,no Judge has ever sent an Editor,or Onwer of a media outlet,to jail.The Dubious Hindoo nation,has no concept of “punitive damages”,on anybody.

    Besides,the media is pampered with nil duty on newspaper imports,EPCG schemes for newsprint makers and other sops for the media.In addition, they get land and property concessions at prime locales,but at sub prime rates.To keep the moolah flowing,these vermin,have award ceremonies of dubious credibility,to pamper the egos of politicians and tycoons,and banias – to keep the cash flowing – an exercise,in cheap antics and perfidy,wherein the media and the awardees,are complimenting each other,with an audience of morons,waxing eloquent on the merits of Indian Democracy !

    Reductio Asurdum – Expecting idealism and ethics

    If the media is owned by banias and politicians – then Y will the media focus,on the following :

    Corruption – as it is done by banias and politicians,and the politicians,are the sponsors of the state adverts
    Bank NPA and Frauds – as it is done and sanctioned,by banias and politicians,and the banias are the sponsors of the adverts
    Farmers suicides – as no bania dies and banias and politicians gain,by farm overproduction
    Farm moneylenders – as all the financiers and arhatiyas,are banias
    SME doom – as the money is stolen by banias,and politicians
    Manufacturing doom – as that will hurt the oliticians,and the corporate sponsors
    Military doom – as that will hurt the politicians,and the hindoo ego
    Evils of the Hindoo faith – as that will hurt a billion hindoos and politicians,and the corporate sponsors
    Dalit and Lower castes – as that will hurt a billion hindoos and politicians,and the corporate sponsors
    Hunger,poverty,rape and degradation – as that will hurt a billion hindoos,and the corporate sponsors

    The Indian Media are the lapdogs of NARENDRA MODI.dindooohindoo