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Boom in media sector led to dip in quality: Ansari

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 4, 2009 - 17:58

New Delhi: Vice President Hamid Ansari
on Wednesday said the boom in media sector has led to a dip in its
quality, mainly due to lack of a concerted effort to train
media professionals at the same pace at which the sector grew.

"The last few years have witnessed an amazing growth
in the media industry...Growth always has a price. Lack of
concerted effort to train media personnel at the same pace as
the growth of media organizations has meant that quality has
suffered," Ansari said while addressing a workshop on
"Parliament and Media" organized by Rajya Sabha here.

He said the huge growth in the sector also highlighted
that the Fourth Estate is the only one among the pillars of
democracy that has an "identifiable commercial and explicitly
for-profit phenomena".

"While the primary professional duty of media
organizations is to their readership for keeping them informed
and appraised with news, views and ideas, the commercial
logic brings in a new set of stakeholders in the form of
shareholders of these companies.

"These developments have brought into focus new
considerations that guide professional media decisions. Today,
the demands for professional and journalists are carefully
balanced with the interests of owners and stakeholders of
media companies and their cross media interests," Ansari said.

Ansari, who is also the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya
Sabha expressed concern about "paid news" and "coverage
packages" during elections and cited guidelines by Press
Council of India saying, "it underscored the urgent need to
protect the public`s right to information so that it was not
misled in deciding the selection quotient of the candidates
contesting elections."

While talking about the emergence of new technologies
and products in media, Ansari said the phenomenon of
convergence between news media, entertainment and telecom has
meant that the demarcation between professional journalistic
output, public relations, advertising and entertainment is
rapidly eroding.

Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha K R Rahman Khan called
for a wider debate on the phenomenon of "paid news" and
"coverage packages" during elections adding, "this is a very
bad thing for democracy. This trend has to stop."

Panelist N Ram, a senior journalist stressed on the
importance of codification of the Parliamentary privileges,
which have not been done so far.

Another panelist and a former editor Mrinal Pandey
sought a "Code of Ethics" for both print and visual media as
well as "some kind of monitoring body", while senior
journalist Vinod Sharma said Indian Newspaper Society should
be involved to debate such ills plaguing the media.

Bureau Report

First Published: Wednesday, November 4, 2009 - 17:58
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