ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The 'Radia'ctive Indian Media

There has been a gross simplification of the issues involved in the exposures in the Radia tapes on the lack of integrity among mediapersons. In order to understand how exactly journalists really function it is necessary to understand the overall context in which they operate and clarify some of the persistent myths about what the profession is all about. Four myths in particular need to be dissected: That it enjoins journalists, more than other professionals, to be ethical, that they should and can be neutral in their reportage, that owners of media businesses are interested in good journalism and that journalism is the prerogative of those employed in the media industry.

The last two decades have seen a rapid expansion of the Indian media industry, making it one of the most profitable sectors of business in the country. Yet, for all the income and influence it has gained during these years the Indian media has also steadily lost its most valuable asset – public credibility and respect.

Apart from the usual sensational, insensitive or inaccurate reportage there are numerous other problems affecting the popular image of journalism in the country. These include blatant promotion of partisan agendas, prioritising ads over editorial content and the phenomenon of “paid news” – selective coverage of politicians in return for cash.

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