THE MEDIA was the focus of a special discussion-interaction session organised by Chintan (a civil society organisation) here on Sunday. The questions from the audience were peppered with incisive views. Sample these: Why public issues don’t get regular importance in newspapers? Why the media glamourises crime stories on television? What are the responsibilities of the media towards the people and why entertainment has preceded information in today’s media?
Coordinating Editor, Hindustan, Madan Mohan Bahuguna, speaking on the occasion, said, the media had a gamut of challenges before it. Today, it is market-driven. This is especially true of the electronic media that has crossed all limits of journalistic ethics. He said, sting operations were good as long as they took the lid off any corruption or fraud in the larger interests of the people. But what about showing people’s bedroom stories? This has to be looked into, added Bahuguna.
Senior Resident Editor, Hindustan Times, Chandrakant Naidu, also accepted that in these times of cut-throat competition between media houses, editors faced strong challenges in creating a balance between circulation and effectiveness of news. But the role of civil society is very important in changing the views of media houses by telling them what they want, he said.
When the audience said the media was losing its main purpose by compromising on news because of market forces, Senior Correspondent, Times of India, Arvind Singh Bisht, said keeping a media house afloat was also like running a business to earn profit—the key factor for survival in the industry.
Amar Ujala bureau chief Virendra Saxena also added that when politics, bureaucracy and judiciary were all on shaky ethical base, why was it that the media was questioned?
Former Vice Chancellor, Lucknow University, MS Sodha, presiding over the function, said the media’s biggest responsibility was to uphold democracy. He said the media needed to work on creating a balance between the people’s intellectual needs and their profit earning aims.