DailyPost 1569

News has been at the centre of our existence might be from the time printing press was invented. News at the local level and the spread by the word of mouth has been there since the advent of civilisation. With the printing press, content got permanence and dissemination took a giant leap. Newspapers came into existence which became the vehicle of news and started getting circulated far and wide but still localised to a geographical area. News was news which means incidents, accidents, facts, historical events et al. Broadly it continued in a similar manner till the advent electronic media.

Might be advertisements led to some dilution of the news but there is no data to prove the same. Advertisements and news have remained different transactions all throughout. Things changed with supplements of newspapers, city editions, page 3 and Sunday and evening newspapers which got not masala, gossip et al. The mainstream media remained broadly news centric. The objectivity of the editorials for over decades is praiseworthy. Mass lectronic media was born also on the same lines. The mushrooming of channels and getting into 24 hours genre heralded a paradigm shift. That pressure could not be borne by professionals, news started taking a back seat. Print media followed suit.

Social media put the already denigrated mediums on fire. The downslide of the social media in less than a decade has been phenomenal. There was no looking back. The electronic media bit the bullet and print media followed suit. Even leading newspapers are in this trade. Business they say. Does business necessarily has to be non-ethical. We have crossed the stage of planting stories, now we planted channels and planted newspapers and planted media houses. Money, influence and lack of shame co-exist in this country and media added another element of comfort to it. What a cosy ecosystem!

Now it is a free for all. Agendas are known and aggressively followed. That is the business model. What is decided is news. News has ceased to exist as in the earlier avatar. The society is at risk and so is the nation. The present code / control mechanisms don’t work. Need to have an independent News Content Authority of India. Standards and Protocols have to be put in place. All medias have to be registered. Authentication has to happen. Radom news audit needs to be done as per the guidelines. A law for this purpose needs to be enacted. Complaints of all types of news transgressions would be entertained and decided by this authority. Harsh punishments as per law should he meted out.


Sanjay Sahay

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