Wednesday, October 27, 2021
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Who owns the media?

Recently, media has been accused and discussed too much for many reasons. Its integrity has always been in question. However, its authenticity is the duty of thinkers, readers and buyers. We are very fortunate that in our country, we are extremely interested in politics. The headline craze has brooked the credentials of a newspaper. Everywhere, we are talking about politics and nothing else since the Indian politics got attention from British Raj. Thus, in that sense our news papers are much more serious of people’s opinion and much better compared to other papers 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 national issues. News by itself is very rich in its nature and anything that gives healthy entertainment and right education and inspires people to do better or asks the Government its accountability to do a better job is news. All these aspects constitute 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 complete paid advertisement in the form of news. We should not follow western culture of journalism, there should be social control.

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 a choice, if he is not interested in what you are showing then he will switch the channel. We being politically hungry, there was a time when Indian youth was not at all interested in political development or politics of this country. However, today’s youth are discussing politics and also has their own opinion on it, and this is probably the impact of political coverage.

Today media has more young audience. Youth know their right to vote and they are keeping eye on good, bad and ugly side of politics. Earlier, we could see two people in the corner discussing politics in pale dim light with bad picture quality on the national channel and no one was really interested to look at those interviews or shows. Today, there is large participation in news based talk shows and discussions.

Now, if you look at the tabloids, even they are aggressive. They are also into investigative journalism. 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 according to your magazines and newspaper interests. Music, art, cinema, gossips have its relevant space in the print media. 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 Anna Hazare was on agitation, none of the channels dared to show Salman Khan’s bare body or Shahrukh Khan’s hyped coverage. The subject had its own relevance and steadiness. Sometimes, when there is nothing much to show, no news or scandals to expose, then the TV channels has to focus on social networking sites like twitter. There are occasions when nothing is happening and hence one need to find alternative by any means. News is all about analysis and paralysis. Sometimes, news channels show discussion on irrelevant topics which don’t create an impact on anyone. However, this happened mostly in the olden days which was old fashioned and dull without any interactivity and pep in it.

When it comes to paid news, even today the regional newspapers have no courage to speak against government. There is a quiet understanding between the management of the newspaper and authorities to not to go against each other. If you go against the government, 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 frequently witnessed. There is a large section of media, especially if we go in the rural areas, or to be specific local media, the journalists of which act like blackmailers. Now obviously, the ethics and morality has taken a back seat there. Let us not stigmatise 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.

Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 14 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazine Beyond The News (international). She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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