the media turned into a 'lap dog' from the watchdog of society it is
supposed to be, thanks to the increasing trend of paid news witnessed today?
Senior journalists and experts voicing concern over the issue said the media
should be united in refusing paid news.
At a panel discussion on the increase in paid news and the Press
Council of India's role to curb it, veteran journalists and judges Monday
expressed concern over big business houses dictating to the media on what
news to carry and how some journalists fall prey to sponsored trips, gifts
and even sometimes cash to carry news.
The discussions witnessed noted journalists and columnists like T.N.
Ninan of Business Standard newspaper, Seema Mustafa, Siddharth Varadarajan
of the Hindu, Alok Mehta of Nai Dunia newspaper, sharing their views on the
topic 'The press council on paid news: Where do we go from here?'
Commenting on the Press Council of India's role in curbing the
growing paid news culture, its chairman, Justice G.N. Ray, said: 'I am aware
of the paid news which is flourishing in the media today, but we at PCI are
like a toothless tiger as we can't enforce, we can only put moral codes of
Speaking about the change in the media sector and the entry of
business barons to run media organizations, columnist Seema Mustafa
lambasted the 'the control over the media by the big business houses who
dictate which news should go and what should not.... Nowadays a newspaper
does not require editors, there are only managers to run it. And paid news
is one step further for degenerating media.'
T.N. Ninan, chairman and editorial director of Business Standard,
said the trend of paid news has been going on since decades. He cited
examples of sponsored trips for journalists, gifts and even sometimes cash.
'PCI's name and shame campaign was a wonderful idea which did not
work. The only solution I can see is to get people together who feel
strongly about it and work towards refusing it (paid news),' said Ninan.
solution was suggested of an alternate public broadcast system which is not
controlled or governed by the rich and powerful.
broadcast system like Prasar Bharati and the likes did not fail, they were
systematically killed by the private media, agents of the corporate houses
and advertisers. Unless it is projected in some way that the law should be
enforced, the paid news culture will keep growing,' said B.G. Verghese,
organizer and chairman of The Media Foundation.
Alok Mehta talked about the journalism of hope, giving examples of media
organizations that refuse to bow down to the paid news culture. The Hindu's
Siddharth Varadarajan said paid news is 'a management issue' and if a
journalist continuously refuses it, then his job security is at stake, which
is a matter that needs to be dealt with.
Justice J.S. Verma, chairman of Independent Broadcast Regulatory
Authority (IBRA), concluded the discussion with: 'Media is considered to be
the watch dog of the society, it should not become a lap dog.'
Please read our earlier stories related to" Paid
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