1 Minute View: Is the Indian press really free and fair?

29 May,2013

If you read the excerpts of the very absorbing panel discussion held last weekend at the Press Club Mumbai’s RedInk awards, there is a fair deal of conflict that disallows a free and fair news media.

 

And the least worrisome of these is the threat that comes from politicians and the government. For, one can take representations to the powers that be, and thrash out issues. But you can’t do that with the judiciary. You can do little if there’s a Privilege Motion against you from the legislature or the Parliament. You are screwed if you take on any business group and god help you if the goons want to get even with you.

 

The problem gets grave when owners and newsroom managers impose censorship or push news that doesn’t deserve to be carried.

 

So is the press free and fair? Yes. And no.

 

It’s mostly fair and free, but it wouldn’t be incorrect to say that there are several rotten apples out there.

 

There is a fair amount of opposition to a self-regulatory body that deals with all media, but we think that it’s a solution that must not be dismissed on a whim.

 

Clearly, the issue of self-regulation cannot be resolved in an hour-long panel discussion, but what happened at the Press Club Mumbai’s event was a good start. We need it to happen amongst not just journalists in Delhi, but across the country. Only a detailed dialogue and buy-in from all stakeholders can resolve the problem. And help the make the news media free and fair.

 

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