An open letter by a former journalist on the terrible state of affairs in media…

Usually, one likes to ignore such letters but case against Indian media is getting stronger by the day. More and more people complain about the paid news, fake news and what not.

But then when an insider writes about the state of affairs which largely concur with what people think, it is time to take note.

Samrat who worked for Free Press Journal writes and stings against the media emperors:

A lot of people from India to USA have lost faith in big media and journalists, calling us “presstitutes” and “paid media”. Yet it was only a very small percent of journalists who sold out. Most continued to do their jobs as honestly as they could, for modest or meagre salaries, with zero job security.

It was the managements that sold out. It was owners, who exploited their workers to maximise their profits, who sold out.

….

The reason the newspaper or TV channel exists, from the perspective of the owners, is to make money for them. In order for it to do that, it has to make money from ad revenues. Advertisers want to reach people who can buy their products. They look at society in terms of purchasing power – more the better.

So, coverage is designed to appeal to the people with the most purchasing power.

When I first came to Delhi from North-East India, I used to be furious at the neglect of the North-East in the supposedly national media. Then I gradually realised that forget North East, even North Delhi was relatively neglected compared to South Delhi. Slums and villages around Delhi simply did not exist in the imagination of the Delhi English media.

The map of India according to the Indian English language media is mainly South and Central Delhi and Mayur Vihar in East Delhi (many journalists live there), South Mumbai and the suburbs up to Andheri, Bangalore Cantonment and the new areas where the I.T. folks stay, and a few pockets from here and there. Other places appear sporadically when truly horrible things happen there.

This map happens to coincide with the map of areas where concentrations of ‘good consumers’ live and work. It is the map of places where maximum products may profitably be sold.

Wow. That is so well put.  Leave covering North East even North Delhi is not covered!

Those on the left and on the right fail to see the issues:

All my Leftist friends, with pain in their hearts for the poor and oppressed, seem not to notice the structural skew built into this neoliberal media of which so many of them are a part. It is a media that denies equal humanity to people who, for want of money, are unable to consume more.

All my Right-wing friends, with pain in their hearts for the nation, seem not to notice that around 90 percent of the nation is missing from the national news. I wonder what could be more anti-national than that. Erasing 90 percent of the nation from the national imagination is not very different from wiping off 90 percent of the country from the map.

Profit and power may be the sole objectives of the ‘seths’ who own and run these businesses. They are not the sole reasons that the media exists.

The state extends many benefits to media houses because they are supposed to constitute the fourth pillar of democracy. A lot of idealistic young people come into the journalism profession because they want to contribute to making a better world for all.

It is safe to say that at present, the profit and power of a few individuals is the raison d’etre of the bulk of Indian media companies. Media is no longer the fourth pillar of democracy; it is the central pillar of crony capitalism. It exists to sell products and influence to the highest bidder.

This is a crying shame.

Phew..

Based on what one hears, shame is an understatement. It is something much more and far worse.

These issues point to the deeper question of ownership of media. How do we balance the need for capital and independent content together? How is media owned and operated in other countries?

 

One Response to “An open letter by a former journalist on the terrible state of affairs in media…”

  1. Linkfest - Kairos Capital Says:

    […] On media bias (Mostly Economics) […]

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