New Delhi: Instances of "bad journalism" like insensitive portrayal of victims and pronouncement of guilt without trial were posing challenges to the media, say leading media figures, who called for effective self-regulation.
The media personalities, who were participating at a discussion "Challenges facing the media" today, at the same time said aberrations and excesses in media were no more or less in magnitude than in other institutions. The discussion was organised by the Editors Guild of India.
Former Editor of The Hindu N Ravi said media was facing an external challenge of "growing intolerance" and an internal challenge of "plain bad journalism".
Speaking about his perception of the growing intolerance of the media, Ravi said it was not confined to the political class but extended to the bureaucrats and to the judges as well. He added that "plain bad journalism" constituted another threat.
"There are well known instances of bad journalism like unfair reporting, pronouncement of guilt without fair trial, invasion of privacy, insensitive portrayal of victims and women for that matter," he said.
"However, in the overall functioning of the media such cases were exceptions and not the rule. But very people base their cases on these exceptions, on these extreme situations and these extreme situations provoke calls for tighten media laws and media regulation," he added.
Effective self regulation and better training were the solutions to the twin challenges that were being faced by the media, Ravi told the participants at the discussion moderated by Business Standard chairman T N Ninan.
Network-18`s found Editor Raghav Bahl said while there were aberrations and excesses in the media, they were no more or less in magnitude than in other institutions.
"A lot of these aberrations and excesses are the aberrations and the excesses of inexperience and youth. The (TV news) industry in itself is extremely young, the people who are field reporters are young," Bahl said.
"The nature of the beat is such that it is a first
information report, you are sitting in-front of a live camera and talking as news is breaking on the ground," Bahl said.
He added that there was an innate wisdom in India`s audiences, viewers and readers which tend to gravitate towards the credible. Bahl said that while the aberrations did create some havoc, they did not damage beyond a point.
Bahl also said that issues were growing complex each day while many journalists were yet to acquire the required level of expertise because of which media at times purveyed unsound line of reasoning.
Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta said the present Government was the weakest and the present Parliament most nonfunctional which meant that it was most unlikely to bring a law regulating the media which some talk about.
"The problem with print from where I come, is a straight-forward one. Too many of us are doing paid news and too many of us are doing sponsored news," Gupta said.
He added that the problem with the Electronic news media was of a different kind.
"In TV the problems is many of our anchors from being inquisitors, it is okay to hold inquisitions, they become judges-executioners," he said. Gupta added that media was often creating mythologies by broadcasting stories and views which are far from the facts.
Ajay Upadhyay, Editor at Amar Ujala that "I think we are talking about others framing guidelines for us, but it is better we start demanding that freedom of expression is made explicit in the Constitution, so that nobody ever tries to frame either regulations, laws or acts which will threaten our cherished freedom."