Saturday, July 11, 2020
Home Media The 7 deadly sins of Indian journalism

The 7 deadly sins of Indian journalism

Also Read

sunilrajguruhttp://www.sunilrajguru.com
The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist. He has worked for the Hindustan Times newspaper and website, CyberMedia, the Centre for Science & Environment and IT market research firm IDC India.

 

Indian journalism, once one of the most respected professions after Independence, is under attack. Terms like #Presstitutes and #PaidMedia abound on social media day in and day out. A lot of senior editors are attacked consistently and scream from the rooftops that they are abused by trolls.

But the question to be asked is: Why has it come to this? While any kind of abusive language is bad and should be discouraged, the truth remains that Indian journalism has degenerated a great deal since 1947. While some fault lines were present from the very beginning, they have grown wider and some new ones have emerged.

A look at the seven deadly sins of Indian journalism today…

1. Communism: We are taught in journalism school that we shouldn’t be biased. Of course that is not possible. Every human being on earth has a certain amount of bias and it is impossible to be 100% objective.

However how do you explain the fact that most senior editors are out and out Communists? It shows in the causes they take up and the people they back and attack. The Right is anathema and has to be criticized no matter what.

That is why the Congress is favoured (as it is Left-leaning) and the BJP is rubbished (Right-leaning). That is also the reason why there is so much tension in social media. Most of the new voices are Right-leaning (of their own accord) and instead of indulging in a healthy debate they are dismissed as trolls.

That is also the reason why you will find great sympathy for Leftist Naxalites who have killed thousands and thousands of people in media and intellectual circles.

2. Proximity: While one does need contacts in the ruling class to do in-depth reporting and get scoops, one does not want to be caught in bed with them. However today you find that senior editors regularly wine and dine with politicians and take favours from them.

Journalism. Politics. Industry. Civil Society. It has become one big incestuous society with the “You scratch my back and I scratch yours” principle ruling. For one, you totally lose your objectivity and after that “fair journalism” takes a total back-seat to “perks and privileges”.

How many senior journalists are spouses, children and relatives of politicians? The huge number will alarm you. Out of them how many are part of the Left-Congress ecosystem? The high percentage will surprise you.

3. Indulgence: After Independence, journalism was seen as a service and almost all editors and journalists led very modest lifestyles. Then the money started coming in slowly and today those in the upper bracket lead absolutely lavish lifestyles.

Foreign junkets. Lunches in five-star hotels with expensive gifts at press conferences. Favours from politicians that result in huge properties and businesses. It’s all happening. There’s also talk of suitcases of money exchanging hands, but that’s quite difficult to prove.

4. Hate: The media is fast losing credibility and power. But most senior editors have ended up spewing hate instead of reinventing and adapting to the new world where social media rules. They hate it that a common man can have a greater voice than theirs.

Print journalists were happy with common people in the Letters to the Editor section. TV channels were happy with concepts like Citizen Journalists. But today everyone is a journalist. Everyone has a Twitter account. Everyone has a YouTube account.

Anyone can break news and anyone can start a trend. Senior journalists hate this. That’s why you’ll find them being quite abusive on Twitter. That’s why you’ll see the bizarre sight of a senior journalist getting into a scuffle with a supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in faraway New York in full public glare!

5. Superficiality: Investigation journalism is as good as dead in India. In the 1980s, Chitra Subramaniam was associated with Bofors. In the 1990s, Sucheta Dalal was associated with the stock market scam.

You don’t get such kind of widespread investigative reporting anymore. UPA2 offered an absolute buffet of scams and scandals and yet the media by and large chose to take a backseat and wait for someone to pick up the cue.

People like BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, activist Anna Hazare and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal made the most of it while organizations like the CAG ruffled the feathers of the high and mighty. The media has totally stopped digging deeply.

6. Opinions: Opinions on their own are not bad things. They are natural. But when they totally cannibalize actual news, then it’s a real cause for concern.

Today we have opinion channels, opinion papers and opinion magazines. Most media houses are peddling chiefly opinions and not news. News reports masquerade as edits and headlines take such a clear stand (sometimes even against what the copy says) that you could call it agenda journalism.

In the absolute pits is prime time on English TV news channels. No research is done. No news is given. You just have ten people screaming their opinions at each other all the time. You can’t call that a debate by any stretch of imagination. That’s why TRPs are falling.

One report said that all English TV news channels together account for just 0.03% viewership of all channels combined. Even DD news is racing ahead of them in terms of viewership.

7. Spinelessness: There was a time when our editors were the conscious keepers of the nation. Not anymore. Nobody takes a stand anymore unless it suits them. Personal interest and business interest both trump national interest.

Things like the anti-corruption agitations are covered well only if it ensures high TRPs. It’s not all doom and gloom, but the mundane and ridiculous by far outweighs the really good stuff coming out of all media houses.

If the mainstream media continues with their ostrich in the sand approach and refuse to change, then social media will totally dominate public discourse in the years to come. This despite the fact that MSM has both the depth and talent to do so!

Sunil Rajguru is a Bengaluru-based journalist. He has worked for the Hindustan Times newspaper and website, CyberMedia, the Centre for Science & Environment and IT market research firm IDC India. He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

sunilrajguruhttp://www.sunilrajguru.com
The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist. He has worked for the Hindustan Times newspaper and website, CyberMedia, the Centre for Science & Environment and IT market research firm IDC India.

Trending now

The spin around Vikas Dubey encounter reminds about the police-raid against Mohammad Shahabuddin in Siwan

While people are saying “dead men tell no story” after Vikas Dubey encounter, Md Shahabuddin narrated no tales even after jailed for years

When Rajnath Singh fought for the country but lost an election

Today is the birthday of Defense Minister Rajnath Singh. And let me tell you a story about the time Rajnath Singh lost from Mohana Assembly constituency in the 1993 elections to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly.

Delhi anti-Hindu riots: Sahil’s father Parvez died in 3 different ways, in 2 different locations, 16 Hindus named in the FIR

Sahil Parvez had stated that his father was shot in front of their house in his statement to the media. His complaint letter to the police several weeks later suddenly shifts the location, identifies 16 'attackers' by name and makes a lot of contradictory claims, read details.

The Wire issues half-hearted correction after being called out by NCPCR for their blatantly fake news about ‘eight-fold increase in complaints post lockdown

The Wire retracted it after the author of the article said that she had no evidence to support her stunning claim.

The Wire accused Yogi Adityanath of being ‘casteist’ for not killing Vikas Dubey hours before the encounter of the gangster

Notorious gangster, Vikas Dubey, who was arrested from Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh was killed in an encounter in the wee hours of the morning on Friday

Vikas Dubey killed in an encounter after he attempts to flee from police custody: Here is what happened

The encounter broke out between Vikas Dubey and the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) after the gangster tried to flee upon reaching Kanpur.

Recently Popular

The curious case of ‘Drone Boy’ who has made 600 drones using broken mixer grinders and televisions. A fact-check

While 'drone boy' Prathap NM has claimed to have made 600 drones using e-waste, not a single photo or video of them exist

Netizens ask Netflix to cancel comedian Kenny Sebastian’s special show after he hurls obscene abuses

Social media users are demanding that Netflix reconsiders special show of Indian comic Kenny Sebastian after he was allegedly found hurling obscene abuses to people on his Instagram page.

Jyoti Basu is the mass murderer India forgot

Please don’t feel bad about speaking ill of the Late Jyoti Basu. If there is another world, be certain that there are (at least) 28,000 voices from the other side backing you up.

Only Muslims go to heaven, Ravish Kumar-like non-Muslims can only hope for a mild level of hell: Dr Zakir Naik explains

Naik said that virtues like honesty and charity cannot ensure qualifying marks for heaven or Jannah. Only Muslims can go to heaven and non-Muslims will go to hell by default, he says.

After obscene comments, clip of comedian Kenneth Sebastian calling Sanskrit ‘most useless language ever’ goes viral. Watch video

In the video titled "Journey to the centre of my brain", Sebastian is seen thanking God because 'all the people who spoke Sanskrit are dead'.

The Wire accused Yogi Adityanath of being ‘casteist’ for not killing Vikas Dubey hours before the encounter of the gangster

Notorious gangster, Vikas Dubey, who was arrested from Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh was killed in an encounter in the wee hours of the morning on Friday

The spin around Vikas Dubey encounter reminds about the police-raid against Mohammad Shahabuddin in Siwan

While people are saying “dead men tell no story” after Vikas Dubey encounter, Md Shahabuddin narrated no tales even after jailed for years

“I feel free after ages. This is an end to the era of terror”, says Lallan Vajpayee who was on the hit-list of slain...

Vikas Dubey had multiple attempts to kill Lallan Vajpayee in the party, Vajpayee celebrates the death of Dubey in Police encounter

Journalist shares image of a Pakistani cannibal who ate a baby as ‘RAW agent captured in Nepal’

The photo of a RAW agent supposedly arrested in Nepal is actually photo of a Pakistani cannibal who was convicted of eating children

NIA names 6 ISIS terrorists in the charge-sheet filed in the murder case of Tamil Nadu cop SSI Wilson

6 terrorists charge sheeted by NIA in the case of murder of SSI Wilson in January 2020 in Tamil Nadu

Chinese app ban: Govt sends 70 questions to concerned firms, gives 3 weeks to respond

The response of the firms will be evaluated by a high-level panel and any discrepency may lead to a permeant ban.

Watch: Nellore Municipal Corporation uses earth-mover to dispose of COVID-19 bodies, investigation ordered

In a shocking apathy, officials of Nellore municipal corporation are seen dumping the bodies of coronavirus patients using an earth mover

Irony: Priyanka Gandhi accuses Yogi govt of shielding criminals like Vikas Dubey on the same day he was killed in encounter by UP police

On a day criminal Vikash Dubey was killed in an encounter by UP police, Priyanka Gandhi slams Yogi govt for shielding criminals like Dubey

‘I will not go to attend his last rites: Says deceased gangster Vikas Dubey’s father Ram Kumar Dubey

Vikas Dubey's father stated that the family has disowned him and they will not part-take in his last rites.

History-sheeter Mohammad Akhtar arrested in Madhya Pradesh after he fled from Uttar Pradesh following recent police encounters

Akhtar had escaped from UP to MP fearing for his life, after seeing that several members of Vikash Dubey's gang were killed in police encounter

Connect with us

235,407FansLike
402,990FollowersFollow
272,000SubscribersSubscribe