Apr 3, 2015

The State of the Media

The media, both electronic and print has been consistently attacked over the last few years for being biased, corrupt or both- sometimes credibly, sometimes less so.

Given the space, that media needs to have in a semi literate country like India, it is imperative that the media players to counter such trend and forcefully. Obviously, what is needed is a dose of professionalism. And that means a higher entry barrier at all levels. There are too many newspapers, and news channels. The industry as whole is working in a low quality, high volume equilibrium and it would be difficult to just add a dose of professionalism. So the stakeholders need to take some key steps

1. Journalists- Reporters: There needs to be a industry wide code of conduct for camera persons/ reporters. This should take care of norms for privacy, national security, source protection, source revelation, off the record/ on the records etc, evidence towards publishing a direct quote etc, norms for getting response from counter parties.

2. No of channels, newspapers: There needs to be a consolidation in terms of number of news channels and news papers. Ideally 5-6 nationally integrated media houses with local presence and diversification across print and electronics

3- Regulation of content: Self regulation never works. Governments cannot be trusted, so difficult to suggest a remedy for malafide reporting. However once the consolidation happens, maybe a couple of community led media watchdogs could be useful.

Lets see if some movement happens over the medium term on these lines. There is a need for a credible voice and if a media house succeeds, others may follow