ibnlive » India

Sep 27, 2007 at 04:59pm IST

The Big Media Debate: The messed-up messenger

(You may love or hate this fact, but he/she is your messenger. Yes we are talking about editors of newspapers and news channels that you read or watch for your daily dose of information. You surely have loads of compliments or scathing criticism to shower on him or her. Or, in general, there may be a number of things that you like or don’t like about today’s media.

You may have never been able to send across these, but here’s your chance to join the Big Media Debate on CNN-IBN and IBNLive.com.

CNN-IBN’s Senior Editor/Anchor, Dr Vidya Shankar Aiyar, kicks off this debate with a few questions. Write in with your feedback/suggestions/opinion and we will make sure you are heard. Also do not forget to watch the big debate on CNN-IBN at 2030 hours IST on Saturday, September 29, and 1200 hours IST on Sunday, September 30. )

It’s perhaps the best and the worst of times for the media in India. It’s lapping up the joy of the Indian cricket team winning the Twenty 20 world cup. It’s not only informing and entertaining, it’s also making a lot of money. Everyone’s happy. No one is even complaining about the hype, except perhaps, the hockey team. Even so, the hockey team’s ire is directed towards politicians and at least, not yet towards the media. It’s the irony of ‘Chak de India’.

Rewind to the recent past and there was outrage. How could the Supreme court sentence 4 journalists for contempt of court, without examining the ‘truth’ claimed by the journalists as defence? It was seen as a body blow to fair and fearless journalism that involves the truth. Or for that matter, what of the tragic-comic affair of a TV sting that provoked less violence on the streets when it was discovered to be fake, than when it was believed to be genuine? Are stings just sensationalism?

Or what of the government’s proposed Broadcast Bill that empowers it to pull the plug virtually on any TV channel or Broadcast Service Provider, at will? Worse, even the most optimistic reading of the Content Code associated with the bill leaves one with the inescapable conclusion; the watchdog would now just watch.


Are these signs of the way people perceive the media today? Whatever happened to good old responsible, independent, free and fair journalism?

It’s time to act. The media must address some pressing questions and find solutions. Here are 5 questions for 25 top editors across the country. We will debate them with a live audience this weekend as well.

If you have any good answers to the following questions, join the debate and write in to us.

> Watching the Watchdog: Should the media regulate itself?

> Once Stung, Twice Shy: Are sting operations over-rated?

> Just to Ban? Is it right for the government to ban a TV channel?

> Ethics vs Market: Is journalism selling out to profit margins and sensationalism?

> Truth or Contempt: Who decides what’s the truth? The government, the media or the courts?

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