Wednesday, June 23, 2021
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Media, reporting and biasness

Nowadays, social media is one of the new media other than Print and electronic media. This media has a habit of taking every issue aggressively which are not handled by the mainstream media. Let it be the National Herald case, stalling of the parliament or Salman Khan’s acquittal from the 13 years old case in six months.

Recently, media has been accused and discussed too much for many reasons. Its integrity is being questioned. However, its authenticity depends on thinkers, readers and buyers. We are very fortunate that in our country we are extremely interested in politics. The headline craze has broken the credentials of a newspaper. Everywhere, we are discussing only politics and nothing else. Indian politics were the point of discussion in the British era also. Thus in that sense, our newspapers are much more serious on the quotes, and much better comparative to other newspapers of the world. Second thing is that newspapers or news does not mean only news; news has to have variety of segments. News does not mean only the national issues. News by itself is very rich in its nature. Anything which gives new information is known as news either it is healthy entertainment and right education. News is thing which inspires people to do better or asks the Government its accountability to perform a better job. All these aspects constitute a good journalism. My point however is that in the recent decades, the largest selling newspapers actually sell news space at a price tag; the so called supplement is completely paid advertisement in the form of news. We should not follow western culture of journalism, there should be a social control on it.

Generally news channels have a favourite quote, “If this is what people want to see, we are going to show”. Is that correct? Ethical or unethical no one knows. I think a viewer has choice, if he is not interested in what you are showing he can turn off the channel. There was a time when Indian youth was not at all interested in political development or politics of this country. However, if you look around now then you will find youth are discussing politics and also has their own opinion to rise. This is probably the impact of political coverage given by media.

Today, it’s more of young media, young audience. Youth are aware of their rights to vote and they are keeping an eye on good, bad and ugly sides of politics. If today we say media is aggressive, historic or ascertain issues, it’s because the youth understand the point which we are trying to say. Earlier, we could see two people in the corner discussing politics in the pale dim light and with bad picture quality of the national channel. No one is really bothered to look at those interviews or shows. Today, there is large participation in news based talk shows and discussions.

Today, if you look at the tabloids, even they are aggressive. They are also doing investigative journalism. Somewhere down the line, the tabloid is much better than broadsheet journalism nowadays. It’s not only hydro media which talks about serious issues such as poverty, fertilizations, but also widely published in other publications too. Everyone wants to know about fashion, cooking, films, party, Page three, Derby and race course activities. Nothing is framed and limited to particular segment of news print. Sometimes you are kind, unkind, avarice and aggressive for that your magazines and newspapers should reflect that plethora of interest and different registers in which we all live. Music, arts, cinema and gossips all that has its relevant space in the news print. What we are talking about is appetite, courage and willingness required for which we will go for money and power in its best ways.

When AAP came up with surprise winning in Delhi, media went over hauling about the party and its simplicity. None of the channels dared to show Salman Khan’s bare body or Shah Rukh Khan’s hyped coverage. During dry days, when there is nothing to show, no news or scandals to expose, then only the TV channels are focussing on Deepika Padukone kissing her boyfriend on airport or Sunny Leone to entertain their viewers. The news has to be relevant and worth grabbing the attention of readers or viewers. There are occasions when there is nothing happening and hence one need to find the alternative by any means. News is all about analysis and paralysis.

When it comes to paid news, even today the regional newspapers has no courage to speak against government. There is a silent understanding between the management of the newspaper and authorities that not to go against each other. If they publish anti-government news then the solution is its closure. Many such bold newspapers had to shut down their shop for writing against government. Many prospered by supporting and promoting and being the mouth piece of state governments or Chief Ministers. In north India, this kind of news culture is quite aggressively witnessed. There is a large section of media especially if we go in the rural areas, or to be specific local media, its journalists are acting like blackmailers. Now, obviously the ethics and morality has taken a back seat there. Let us not stigmatize small media but there are blackmailers in small media as well as in the national media. It won’t be wrong to say that blackmailers exist everywhere.

There are many regional papers that can be termed as the best examples for honest journalism but unfortunately they did not survive. Why? They would not have died if they would have grown on at a sub regional level. You take the examples of one of the leading Hindi newspapers; they are publishing sixty three editions for this country. It has tried to reach almost every district and state. Many times media has crossed its ethical boundaries. These are hypnosis views about ethical and unethical journalism. Media is introducing itself too much into people’s private lives.

Journalists has to raise their voice on unethical practices saying no to even their own bosses, managements and pay masters, by challenging all of them. Sometimes, it’s very much interference and journalist cannot really execute their freedom to live in ethical frame. Media in India is sometimes constantly criticized. They are related with one or other political parties, if you say good about Congress then you are connected to BJP and if you stand by BJP then you are accused of being bought by Congress. And if you stand in between, then you are accused of being paid by some third party or both the parties will attack you. The general assumption is that media and party are sold out in the country.

In other ways, finance is one of the biggest aspects of media. Small town or state level media is actually controlled by political parties. If it is in state level then direct while on national levels it’s indirect. It’s difficult for working journalists to understand how they are directly and indirectly controlled by political parties. Actually, journalists must assert themselves, and today common people are scrutinizing media much more, the mouth full is mouth shut. There is no doubt media has become powerful and that’s why everyone wants to control them.

Dr. Vaidehi Taman
Dr. Vaidehi is an Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and an Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. Since 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond the news (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which she caters for her sister-concern Kaizen-India Infosec Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

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