Media watchdog suppresses
damning report on how media is selling its soul
In this country, everything can go to a rot and still we can rest assured
that we have a free and fair media that will highlight the rot. But who's
going to tell us if something is rotten in the media? The Press Council of
India was apparently set up precisely for this purpose. But now the accusing
fingers are being pointed at the very watchdog itself. At the centre of the
controversy is the phenomenon of "paid news".
much brouhaha after the 2009 elections that several politicians had “bought”
news space, that is to say, had paid media barons for publicity, which
unfortunately was dished out as regular news, without informing the reader
that this was a sort of advertisement.
The matter strikes at the
heart of democracy twice over, as elections AND journalism are involved. As
veterans like Prabhash Joshi (who passed away late last year) and P Sainath
campaigned for action against the guilty, the Press Council of India early
this year set up a committee of two journalists, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and
K Sreenivasa Reddy, to investigate the matter.
their painstaking research, they produced a 72-page report that not only
called a spade a spade and named the names but also traced the genesis of
commercialism across the media that otherwise claims a holy cow status for
itself. They submitted their report way back in April.
God knows what was
happening for the past three months, but now the Press Council has come up
with its own report on paid news. It has only 12 pages, it has no names and
it reduces the Thakurta-Reddy report to merely a footnote – and the 72-page
report has not been uploaded on the PCI website either. The PCI has members
from the managements of media houses on its board which perhaps explains its
unwillingness to name names.
But here it is: the full report, sourced from prabashjoshi.net,
Draw your own conclusions.
Please read our earlier stories related to" Paid
1).Paid News: A Cancer