Bhubaneswar: The Indian media has undergone a sea change, especially in the last two decades. Eminent journalist and television commentator Karan Thapar on Friday evening expressed concerns over the sorry state of affairs of Indian media while speaking at the 35th anniversary of leading Odia daily ‘Sambad’.
‘The Devil’s Advocate’ compared today’s media as guard dogs for not putting tough questions to the ruling dispensation.
The New Delhi-based journalist said that simply reporting is not enough. We need more context, explanation and background. We need more specialist correspondents rather than generalists or firefighters. For most important developments, television news needs to supplement reports of what happened with analysis of why and what it means. In other words, news analysis has to become a part of news reportage.
He further stressed that news analysis is not opinion. There is a big difference of analyzing intelligently, logically, balance and truthfully and passing and individual opinion. “We also need more current affairs. News on its own is not enough. We need programmes that go deeper, wider and further.”
Referring to television reporting with regard to Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two minor sons’ murder, the veteran journalist said: “It brings home the horror of what happened as no other medium can do. It sickens you. It tugs at your emotions. It stabs at your conscience. And all of that is a very welcome response. But what television does not do is it does not explain why it happened.”
The chief guest on this occasion further said: “Whatever you may make of the promise of ‘Acche din’, these are not good times for Indian media. Most people I know have formed an irrevocable impression that the Indian media has become cowardly where once newspaper and television channels boasted of challenging and exposing the government we now flinch from doing so. Worse, when our voices are raised, it is against the government’s opponents and critics. Not against the government. We criticize those who criticize the Prime Minister. We criticize those who criticize the Army chief. Instead of watchdogs that should growl at the authorities even if occasionally mistakenly, the media behaves like guard dogs who seek to protect them or pet dogs who want to be liked.”
Similarly, veteran journalist and chief speaker Ram Kripal Singh expressed that a media house that wins the trust of readers/viewers will only survive in the race.
“Earlier ITR (Information Transfer Rate) used to be the key for success. But now real-time information transfer is the mantra for success and it is going to stay. An organization which has multi-dimensional approach will have an edge. However, content and credibility are the basic factors to win readers’ trust.”
On the occasion, Editor of the largest circulated Odia daily Soumya Ranjan Patnaik said: “Diverse opinions should co-exist and are the strength in a democracy. However, the willingness to accept it is on the decline. Despite media being the fourth pillar of democracy, the other three are almost upto demolishing it. What Prime Minister or Chief Ministers are unable to see or listen, it is the duty of the media to make them aware of the reality.”
Patnaik also congratulated ‘The Samaja’ which celebrated its centenary year on this day. “I can’t help but congratulate the newspaper for completing 100 years. As compared to it, we are quite young and just 35. We feel encouraged by it.”
The Executive Director of Sambad Group Tanaya Patnaik thanked the guests for making it to the annual event. “I thank Karan Thapar and especially Ram Kripal Singh for keeping the request as he came down to attend the function despite being ill.”
Editor (Features) of Sambad Gourahari Das and Managing Director of the Group Monica Nayyar Patnaik also spoke on the occasion.