2013: Year of Shame (Part 2)

26 Dec,2013

 

Despite some highs, regrettably, Twenty-thirteen has been a year that would be best remembered for the wrong reasons. And that’s why we’ve called it the Year of Shame.

 

In the second of our year-end reviews, we tell you why we think we’ve labeled it ‘The Year of Shame’. Read on…

 

Radio na-na: Where the hell is Phase 3?

If you though that television guys get a raw deal from the ministry of information and broadcasting, the radiowallahs have to suffer the rotten apples. The unfortunate thing is they don’t seem to be too bothered about it. The only time the radio folks energized themselves was when the royalty issue came up with music companies, but that’s because it was threatening their bottomlines a big deal. Phase 3 of Government of India’s radio policy has still not happened, and despite some protests, there’s no sign of independent news on radio. We would blame the radio players too for the state they’ve find themselves in, despite many of them being owned by leading media players. It’s indeed a shame that our radio sector is floundering in the dark ages.

 

Paid news rules, even more

When The Times of India introduced Medianet around a decade back, it was interesting to see the editors of some publications – specifically Hindustan Times and Mid-Day damning the policy. It’s unfortunate to find that both HT and Mid-Day now doing the very same thing: charging money for editorial content. Like Bombay/Delhi/etc Times, both papers carry disclaimers with HT even detailing it with a footnote. However, the articles that are paid for find themselves along side content that’s in thanks to sound editorial discretion. Sad that two publications which otherwise offer quality content have resorted to regressive practices. While The Times of India doesn’t care too much about the fact that its paid content policy mars its 175-year history, HT, Mid-Day and many others have strayed on this path.

 

Journalism’s darkest year

This was one of the darkest years seen by the Indian news media: the dispute the People magazine staffers and earlier the Forbes India top deck had with their respective managements and the way both played out in the open, the humiliation (and later exits) of Editor Siddharth Varadarjan and CEO Arun Anant from The Hindu, The Times of India’s legal notice to a a 22-year-old law student over an article, laying off of staff across news media, the misdoings of posterboy Tarun Tejpal and behaviour of Tehelka managing editor Shoma Chaudhury. Each of these cases threw light on the state of our news media. The managements of Outlook, Forbes India and The Hindu may have had their reasons for whatever happened with their senior staff, the retrenchment of staff may have been unavoidable, but could all these cases have been handled better?

 

RIP, Charudatta Deshpande

It’s evident that there was more to the suicide of former journalist and PR professional Charudatta Deshpande than what was initially reported. All credit to Charu’s friends and former colleagues to have ensured that there is a proper investigation into the events that led to it. What the episode has exposed is the way some of our corporates react to negative media.

 

Mantriji woes

We were worried about some of I&B Minister Manish Tewari’s speeches soon after he assumed office last year and we thought it would be a repeat of the period when Anand Sharma was the I&B boss. Thankfully, things haven’t been bad. Ministerji wants to be seen as a doer and is keen on digitization and an alternative measurement system to happen in his regime. He’s super-keen on ensuring that the Punjab cable scene gets out of the hands of the Akali Dal, but that may not happen with ease. However, if some officials are to be believed, his interest in the running of the Doordarshan newsroom is ruining the rapid strides it had taken mid-year.

 

See also:

http://www.mxmindia.com/2013/12/2013-year-of-shame/

http://www.mxmindia.com/2013/04/mediaah-are-disclaimers-enough-to-pass-off-paid-content/

 

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