Battle of the Story: Casting critical eye on Media

30 Apr,2013

By Ananya Saha

 

The media is playing more important role in our society today. As social and traditional media continue to permeate our lives, industry veterans recently got together at a conference organized by the Indian Chamber of Commerce to discuss the role of media, convergence, new media, and new technology. As Rajiv Mundhra, President, ICC, pointed out, “New media has become a tool for social change.”

 

The panel comprising of Jawhar Sircar, CEO, Prasar Bharati; Subhash Chandra, Chairman, ZEE and Essel Group; Sunil Lulla, MD and CEO, Times Television Network; Anuradha Prasad, Chairperson, BAG Films and Media Ltd; Anshuman Tewari, Chief of National Bureau, Dainik Jagran talked about how media only portrays reality as shaped by people. While agreeing that in the “heat-of-the-moment”, the news channels do forget their responsibility towards the nation and compromise national security such as the 26/11, according to Mr Chandra, the Indian media has acted responsibly. He further said, “There are people who are history-sheeters and are running news channels. This is a cause of concern.

 

Sunil Lulla

Concurring, Mr Lulla said, “With the mushrooming of news channels, it was the broadcasters themselves who got together to say that we need to set standards. Since that idea got criticized by journalists, we asked the journalists to form the guidelines under the committee headed by Late Justice Verma. NBSA was thus formed. And with the passing years, the guidebook is only getting thicker.” He further said, “We are all for responsible content. For instance, no other business carries 72 messages in a day giving information of redressal authorities.” The panel coherently agreed that they were united in the cause of bringing responsible content to its audience.

 

Mr Sircar said, “It is important that the media takes note of what it is doing. If the fourth estate caves in, we will see an eruption of public angst, which will defy the constitution.”

 

Uday Kumar Varma

Uday Kumar Varma, Secretary, MIB, talked about how technology is enabling advances in the broadcast sector. He spoke about the three challenges that the sector is facing, “Digitization is the best thing to happen to the broadcasting sector in the last 20 years. And the first challenge is that all digitization is aimed at, is achieved.” He said that till digitization sees complete transparency, issue of carriage fees is not solved, and till revenue sharing is equitable, the process of digitization cannot be called complete. The second challenge, according to him is the question of monopolies. He said, “There have been certain developments that have disturbed the equilibrium. Problems that arise because of lack of policy have to be addressed. Cross-media regulation, which can be horizontal or vertical, has to be addressed as well.”

 

The third and the last challenge he shared was about the TV rating system. He said, “the current rating system is far from satisfactory. The bottomline features of a television rating system should be put in place.”

 

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