Tuesday December 19, 2017
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Sensationalism, unprofessionalism and biasness in Media reporting

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By Nithin Sridhar

The filing of First Information Report (FIR) on October 3 by Saharanpur police in Uttar Pradesh against Delhi’s Ritu Rathaur (@RituRathaur) received extensive media coverage especially by Hindi channels. She was booked for attempting to disrupt communal harmony by posting rumors and sensational posts on social media.

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The FIR was registered after Rathaur posted the photo of a dead sub-inspector with the comment that he was mowed down after he tried to stop the truck carrying beef. Refuting the claim, the UP government claimed that the sub-inspector was killed by a truck carrying river-stones. The tweets of Ritu Rathaur (which she has apparently deleted now) and the UP government can be seen in this image.

The broadcasting of the news by a few noteworthy news channels like News 24, India TV, ABP News raised serious questions on the ethics and the standards of constructive journalism.

Anchors of media channels kept reiterating that Rathaur is a BJP leader and tried to instill into audiences’ mindset the BJP was behind communal disharmony (read riots) across India.

Rathaur is neither a leader nor an office bearer in BJP. Arvind Gupta of BJP IT Cell has tweeted, saying she is not part of BJP IT/SM cell.

One channel even opined that Ms Rathaur was well linked with BJP top brass as she frequently shared tweets from BJP leaders. A media house failing to differentiate between a party cadre and a leader points towards the degradation of journalism standards. Jumping to conclusion and acting as the judiciary further made the situation atrocious. Before the probe reports were filed, media houses pronounced Rathaur to be guilty. Rathaur differed with the UP government’s version on the death of sub-inspector Tyagi but that does not make her a liar or rumor monger.

The issue of character assassination is nothing new in media. The case of Jasleen Kaur too had similar features with news channels literally framing the accused Sarvjeet Singh before the probe was even completed. The callousness of the media resulted in Singh losing his job. A repetition of the same phenomenon can be seen in the coverage of the Ms. Rathaur issue. The news channels repeatedly upheld the account of the UP government as final unquestionable truth and pronounced Ms. Rathaur as guilty of spreading rumors. But, there are some questions that remain unanswered by the UP government or the media. Senior journalist Surajit Dasgupta has pointed these gaps in his tweets.

Hence, the manner in which the news anchors became the police, judge and the jury in portraying Rathaur shows the downtrend in professionalism.

The channels further tried to give a communal flavor to Rathaur’s tweets by questioning her motive behind her posts about an earlier incident at a time when the situation was charged with tension due to Dadri incident.

Moreover, the YouTube videos of the news reported in all these channels are biasaed saying that an FIR against Rathaur has been filed for linking sub-inspector’s death with Dadri lynching. But, the tweet of Ms. Rathaur reveals no such intentions. From the tweet, it appears that the tweet was a response to Pratap Bhanu Mehta’s article wherein he squarely blames PM Narendra Modi for all communal tensions including that of Dadri.

So, how did a tweet which does not even mention Dadri link the sub-inspector’s death with the Dadri incident? The tweet was clearly a commentary on the media that tries to criticize Modi for every ill in the society but showed no communal motive. One channel went even further and clubbed the issue of FIR against Rathaur with the statements made by Mavia Ali, Chairman of Deoband municipality in Saharanpur district, who virtually called for the killing of Sadhvi Prachi.

How are the issues even related? Why did the news channels try to attribute non-existent communal motive to Rathaur by clubbing her with known communal elements or with communal incidents? There can be only one answer. In this case, the media was avoiding the real sensational events and trying to rake up a controversy by making a person a scapegoat

The coverage of Rathaur issue has again exposed the pseudo-sensationalism that is practiced by the media for the sake of TRPs. It has also exposed the crass biasness and the hidden agendas of many of the journalists and media houses. Irrespective of whether Rathaur is guilty or not, the media should have exerted restraint and exhibited professionalism in covering the issue. Sensationalism, biasness, unprofessionalism, and fostering hidden agendas do great harm not only to the reputation of the fourth estate but also to the nation as a whole.

 

 

  • P G Kutty Nair

    I agree with Nithin Sridhar entirely. Partisan journalism has become the bane of the country. The attack on individuals who make use of social media to air their opinion is deplorable, because it is in clear violation of the Constitutional guarantee of the freedom of expression. It is the mainstream media which is misusing that freedom in an organized fashion, and their opinions and views have a far greater impact on the general public getting misled or provoked than a tweet from a private individual. Social media has become a thorn in the sides for both the ruling regimes as well as the mainstream media industry as their capacity to manipulate public opinion has been greatly reduced. In the interest of a more progressive nation, it is imperative that the new government at the centre removed all restrictions on social media and gave it freedom at par with the mainstream media.

  • P G Kutty Nair

    I agree with Nithin Sridhar entirely. Partisan journalism has become the bane of the country. The attack on individuals who make use of social media to air their opinion is deplorable, because it is in clear violation of the Constitutional guarantee of the freedom of expression. It is the mainstream media which is misusing that freedom in an organized fashion, and their opinions and views have a far greater impact on the general public getting misled or provoked than a tweet from a private individual. Social media has become a thorn in the sides for both the ruling regimes as well as the mainstream media industry as their capacity to manipulate public opinion has been greatly reduced. In the interest of a more progressive nation, it is imperative that the new government at the centre removed all restrictions on social media and gave it freedom at par with the mainstream media.

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Prince Charles Arrives in New Delhi for two day Visit to Meet PM Narendra Modi

Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, accompanied by his wife arrived New Delhi for a two-day visit to India to complete their 10-day four-nation tour

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Prince Charles
Prince Charles visits India with his wife for two days. Wikimedia.

New Delhi, Nov 9: Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, accompanied by his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker-Bowles, arrived New Delhi on Wednesday on a two-day visit to India at the final leg of their 10-day four-nation tour that also took them to Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei.

“Their Royal Highnesses Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall arrive,” the British High Commission in India tweeted.

Prince Charles is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday evening and discuss a wide range of issues, including that of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which will take place in April 2018 in the UK.

Prince Charles
Prince Charles arrives in India with his wife. IANS.

Ahead of the royal couple’s arrival, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said climate change, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), economic cooperation, and other bilateral issues would also come up for discussion.

Bilateral trade between India and Britain stands at $12.19 billion. India is the third largest investor in Britain and the second largest international job creator in that country.

Britain is the third largest inward investor in India, with a cumulative equity investment of $24.37 billion for the period April 2000-June 2017

The Indian diaspora in UK is one of the largest ethnic minority communities in the country, with the 2011 census recording approximately 1.5 million people of Indian origin equating to almost 1.8 percent of the population and contributing 6 per cent of the country’s GDP.

This will be Prince Charles ‘s ninth visit to India. He had earlier visited India in 1975, 1980, 1991, 1992, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2013. (IANS)

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Editorial Freedom Should be used Wisely in Public Interest says PM Narendra Modi to Media

Prime Minster Narendra Modi on Monday said that editorial freedom should be used in public interest and urged the newspapers to devote space to increase awareness about climate change

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PM Narendra Modi speaks about Editorial Freedom. Wikimedia

Chennai, Nov 6: Prime Minster Narendra Modi on Monday said that editorial freedom should be used in public interest and urged the newspapers to devote space to increase awareness about climate change.

Speaking at the 75th anniversary celebrations of Tamil newspaper Daily Thanthi at the Madras University Centenary Auditorium, Modi said lot of things happen around the world and the editors decide what is important to be published in their newspapers.

He said: “Editorial freedom should be used wisely and in public interest.”

Pointing out the natural calamities occurring around the world at regular intervals, PM Modi urged newspapers to allocate space to increase awareness about climate change.

Narendra Modi said the freedom to write does not in anyway reduce the importance to be accurate and correct, adding that though media outlets may be owned by the private sector, they serve a public purpose, have much social accountability and their conduct should be above board.

editorial freedom
Media must use editorial freedom with public interest, says PM Modi. Wikimedia.

He said technological advancement enables citizens to compare, discuss and analyse the credibility of news and the media should take extra caution to maintain its credibility.

According to him, reform in media can come from within and through introspection.

Observing most of the media discourse revolves around politics, Modi said the nation is made of over a billion people and the media should focus on the people and their achievements.

Citing the spread of mobile phones, Modi said citizen reporting is important in showcasing individual achievements and also helping in the aftermath of natural disasters.

PM Narendra Modi also released a souvenir.

Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister of State for Finance and Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan, Chief Minister K. Palaniswami and his deputy O.Pannerselvam also participated in the function.

Paying encomiums to the founder of Daily Thanthi S.P. Adithanar and his son Sivanthi Adithan, Palaniswami said the daily would certainly see centenary celebrations.

Leaders of several political parties, law makers, industrialists, movie actors and diplomats attended the function.

Earlier on his arrival PM Modi was received by Purohit, Palaniswami and others at the airport.

From the airport Modi reached the INS Adyar naval base here in a helicopter.

At INS Adyar, Modi had a meeting with Palaniswami and discussed about the rain and relief situation in Chennai and neighbouring districts. (IANS)

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India will become High-Middle Income Country by 2047, says World Bank CEO

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World Bank CEO
World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva. IANS.

New Delhi, Nov 4: Lauding India’s increasing per capita income, World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva on Saturday said she has no doubt that India will be a high-middle income country by 2047 when it completes its centenary year of independence.

“In the last three decades, India’s per capita income has quadrupled. I have no doubt India when it hits its century of independence in 2047, will be a high-middle income country,” Georgieva said while addressing India’s Business Reforms conference at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra here.

Georgieva praised India for its sudden jump of 30 ranks in 2017, the biggest leap ever, in the history of the ease of doing business.

World Bank CEO
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia.

“We are here to celebrate a very impressive achievement. In 15 years of the history of the ease of doing business, such a jump of 30-ranks in one year is very rare. In cricket, I understand that hitting a century is a big milestone.”

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She hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “high-level ownership” efforts and “championship of reforms” that led to achieve India such a ranking in ease of doing business.

Reminding Guru Nanak Dev’s preachings, the World Bank CEO said: “Today is also the anniversary of Guru Nanak which reminds me of his words that whatever seed is sown, the plant will grow thus.” (IANS)