Sunday, November 21, 2010

Et tu, media!

I have heard today that a famous anchor of a TV news channel and the editor-in-chief of a national newspaper have been helping a liaison agency which had a close relationship with A. Raja and several applicants for UAS licences and 2G spectrum. I do not know if it is true but if it is, one of the last pegs on which the common man could hang his hopes has fallen.

The rot had started some years back when paid news had made news at the time of general elections. In exchange for advertisements or even cash, newspapers gave favourable news coverage to election rallies, eulogised achievements of particular candidates or pegged up their chances of victory. Then a leading newspaper group made path breaking ‘private treaties’ with corporates, through which they took share holdings in those corporates in consideration for publishing sponsored news items but passing them as normal ones. The ethical standards of the news channels have generally been even lower than those of the print media, what with parts of coming episodes of TV serials splashed as news! This said, that well-known media persons could have nexus with professional lobbyists still shocked and saddened. Most of us, who think of ourselves as educated and aware, form our opinions about different happenings on the basis of what we see on the television and more than that from what we read in newspapers, and we regard the editorial page as an institution in itself. Since we can not have our independent sources of information, what should we do now?

Even if the rumour about the media persons’ wrongful involvement turns out to be a mere rumour, now on we have to be more watchful and incredulous about what we see on the television screen or read in broadsheets. If we treated it so far as the gospel truth, we should not now on. If we have access to internet, we could also widen our catchment area for news to include some independent news blogs. In the final analysis, we have to rely more on our own thinking to form an opinion on a certain event than on what is dished out to us as news and views by the print and electronic media.

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