Union minister VK Singh’s “presstitute” remarks may have caused the opposition parties to demand for his scalp but the previous UPA regime was no less disparaging in its assessment of the media. Or so it seems from the way it went about teaching about how media is “no longer” independent.
“Despite the absence of censorship by the government, most newspapers nowadays still fail to provide a balanced story. . .Persons who research the media have said that this happens because business houses control the media. At times, it is in the interest of these businesses to focus on only one side of the story,” according to an NCERT textbook, ‘Social and Political Life-II’, taught to Class 7 students.
A chapter titled “Understanding Media” refers to the 1975-77 Emergency when the government imposed censorship and says that while the government still continues to censor films, “it does not really censor” the media’s coverage of news. “Media’s continual need for money and its links to advertising mean that it becomes difficult for media to be reporting against people who give them advertisements. Media is, thus, no longer considered independent because of its close links to business,” says the book.
NCERT officiating director BK Tripathi said the books were written in 2007 and whatever was written was done with a context to it. “There was a book writing committee that included a media specialist that prepared the content and it was done with a context and consensus,” he said.