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 Up loaded on Monday February 08, 2010

Paid news culture is only a symptom of a deeper disease says,

 Prasar Bharati chairperson Mrinal Pandey.


        India’s media has won praise for bringing pressure on the authorities to bring to book the high and mighty for corruption and misdeeds. Now it finds itself in the dock, accused of selling editorial space.


           Rumours have been afloat since the parliamentary elections last year (2009) that journalists and media groups had provided favourable coverage to paying political parties and candidates.


           The future of ethical journalism is in jeopardy if effective, immediate and multi-level steps are not initiated to counter alarming trends like “paid news” in media, alerted a panel discussion of editors, organised as part of the national convention of the Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI), held at  Calicut, Kerala on Saturday  06-02-10.


            Talking on the topic ‘Media Ethics and Paid News,’ Prasar Bharati chairperson Mrinal Pandey said the present degeneration was result of a regressive process that started in the 80s.  “The rot we see in the periphery now is only a symptom of a deeper disease,” she said.


            Ms. Pandey, who observed that dilution of professionalism and compromising recruitment of professionals, were major factors that led to the present crisis in the industry.


              The difference between news and advertisements have come down as advertising agencies have begun "enticing" editors to publish reports to promote their products by offering sops to tide over crisis, she told a meet-the-press programme after   the national convention of the Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI), held at  Calicut, Kerala on Saturday  06-02-10.

           "Market forces have begun shaking editorial principles as dominance of paid news have affected well accepted journalist ethics," she said.

         "Journalists unions have equally appeared to have got politicised by succumbing to pressures of market forces compelling journalists to sell out their souls," she said.

          The vernacular media is visibly affected by the negative trend as they face shrinkage of advertisement revenue forcing them to publish "paid news", she said.

          Many Hindi newspapers have even begun distributing 'rate' cards among doctors, politicians and other professionals giving price lists per space detail for publishing promotional news, Pandey, here to attend a convention on Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI), said.

         Editors' recruitment has to be made purely on professional basis, which, to a certain extent, could put an end to the unethical trend, she said, urging readers and viewers to react to situations and boycott newspapers and TV channels churning out news on monetary consideration.


        On November 04,2010  , Vice President Mohmmad Hamid Ansari while inaugurating the Workshop on "Parliament and Media" in New Delhi had told that  Paid news could jeopardise democracy and reminded journalists their primary duty of protecting the people's right to information .Referring to the 'pay packages' given to journalists by political parties during elections Vice President observed that  "The Press Council has noted that paid news could cause double jeopardy to Indian democracy through a damaging influence on press functioning as well as on the free and fair election process. It underscored the urgent need to protect the public's right to information so that it was not misled in deciding the selection quotient of the candidates contesting elections."




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