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editorial

WHO IS TO MONITOR THE MEDIA FOR PANDERING TO COMMERCIALISM?

K

ejriwal recently disclosed the unmentioned fact that the media reporting has been heavily skewed in favour of Modi. Some people suspected it before but he openly said : “ For the last one year we have been hearing Modi is here. Modi is there…. Even some TV channels have been saying that “Ram Rajya” has come and corruption has vanished…… Why did they do it? Because money has been paid to TV channels. Heavy amounts have been paid to promote Modi.” Though these are allegations, there may be some truth in the statement. Big corporate houses with links to Gujarat, may be involved in spending humungous amounts of money to promote Modi. This is apparent, as BJP is showing its media savviness by taking small incidents such as the chaiwalla tag and the matter of political donations and turning the problems into opportunities. The chaiwalla remark was used to mobilize support for Modi by holding tea-drinking sessions and the matter of donations was used to cloud the perceptions of the public that those giving donations of Rs 1000 can get the chance of breaking bread with Modi. The media responded to shore up the fortunes of the BJP, to divert criticism from its political funding from big corporate houses .

50 EASTERN CRESCENT | APRIL 2014

In contrast any pitfall or pratfall by other parties—especially the Aam Admi Party—get the full critical treatment in the form of an expose. The failures of the Congress are decried again and again in lead stories to show that the antiincumbency factor is sure to damage the hopes of the party leaders. Ashutosh, himself the editor of a media channel before he joined the Aam Aadmi Party, said that” The matter of paid media is more than five years old. The report submitted in 2010 named many big media houses”. He said that corporate interests were putting a lot of pressure on editors. Trying to dispel unease in the media after Kejriwal’s statement, Ashtosh said: “What Kejriwal meant that a section of the media is running the agenda of Mukesh and Anil Ambani.” Now sting operations have revealed that opinion polls conducted by media groups are heavily weighted in favour of the party they support. A sting operation by a media channel said that they contacted agencies that conducted opinion polls and found that for the consideration of a little money the results of the polls could be tweaked in their favour. It was revealed that in the sting operation the TV channel contacted

eleven agencies conducting opinion polls and had “exposed ‘’ them for being biased and acting on purely commercial considerations. The hallmarks of good reporting, whether in print media or on TV channels are: credibility, reliability and timeliness. The loss of credibility by some of the major media houses is just as the loss of virginity of beautiful, nubile girl. Having lost her virginity, the girl cannot earn the same esteem and respect as before. Therefore, it is imperative that media houses should themselves follow a model code of conduct and not be swayed by commercial considerations to either falsify news or play up the antics of those who are bent on leading the nation into blind alleys. Whenever the government tries to impose some rules on the large media set-ups, they raise an outcry that they should be left to report freely and the government should avoid interference in their affairs. In the matter of paid news, the government was concerned and made some moves, especially by appointing a committee to look into its prevalence, but nothing came after that. Therefore, before the government steps in to monitor and control the media, the industry must evolve and stick to norms of moral decency and credibility and avoid surrendering their independence to commercial interests.

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