The Morals & Ethics of Indian Media – I

Recently, there has been a sting operation by Cobrapost about the morals and ethics of media – rather the absence of it. Mainstream media will not go after its own, rather they will come up with holier than thou attitude or at best, nothing at all, sweep everything below the carpet. Pratap Bhanu Mehta has said that media is a threat to the democracy and Shekhar Gupta sends a reply to him that he is wrong and we are watching the wrong channels.

I would also agree with Shekhar that PBM is wrong, media is not a threat to the democracy. Rather, it is a threat to the Indian society, as a whole, at large.

Do not believe me. Search for “Taimur Ali Khan” in Google, and it will throw up 28,80,000 results. Ever wondered how a one and a half-year-old kid can throw up such number of results. The answer is Indian Media.

Indian Media has no journalists

Of course, there are journalists, somewhere, but that is not the point. If you look at Cobrapost sting, it talks to owners and salespersons. And this is precisely the point. It is the owners and the salespersons, who decide what to print, what stories to carry and not the journalists. Journalists are the add-ons, not the main stuff.

Indian Media has press releases

I read the newspapers and no matter what – the regional/national news – it will always be getting reported by special correspondents, a euphemism for press releases. Anyways, there are hardly any journalists on press rolls, from where to fill the pages? Press releases. And it also gets free gifts to print this stuff.

Indian Media has headlines

Leaders, so-called, will make sensational claims and it will be headlines run all over the place. Of course, there shall not be any stories behind it, it cannot be possible. But, it is not required. What is required is a headline.

Indian Media has celebrities

A celebrity sends a heartfelt letter to his/her family, a celebrity does a challenge, a celebrity is spotted, a celebrity poops and these are all news for the Indian media. They cannot see beyond a celebrity.

Indian Media has no investigative journalism

To start with, there is a lack of journalists. And on top of it, to investigate means to get a story and to show some celebrity or leader or corporate in a bad light. A complete no-brainer. Who has the time to invest in either the journalists or the stories? It hits the bottom line.

Indian Media has paid news

When the Big Boss show is running, everywhere its episodes will be getting splashed, with a minute-to-minute description of what the inmates are doing. A movie is getting released; there will be interviews of everybody associated with the movie everywhere. Banks are having high NPAs, but there will not be a single report on the defaulters. We are a corrupt country, but there will be no mention of any corrupt leaders.

Indian Media gets paid to carry the news, or it gets paid to drop the news. Either way, it is paid news.

Indian Media is a closed cosy club

If you have a confidential news tip, there is no way to get it printed, without getting yourself exposed. It will anyway not get printed, and your identity will be known to all, particularly to the people you want to give a news tip about.

Leave aside, being a whistleblower. Barring the letters to the editor, Indian Media does not accept any contribution from the readers.

Too much of morals and ethics to handle in one post, I am continuing in the second post, coming soon.

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