Wednesday December 19, 2018
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Times of Tata ad: Is the foundation of journalism in jeopardy?

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By Prachi Mishra

Media, an integral part of our democracy, a forum of unbiased public debates, has reached at an abysmally low point today. Instead of providing a platform to voice public opinions and concerns, it represents the objectives and interests of the upper-class. Today, the newspapers and news channels work with the sole motive of ‘raising the moolah.’

One recent example of the corporatization of media is a webpage by Economic Times, titled as ‘Times of Tata,’ dedicating an entire page to the Tata Group. The article states:

The archives show profoundly how the Tata created history and how the Times’ publications published it. It has always been thus: the creators of history and its chroniclers have always lived together in a symbiotic and close relationship. The following pages contain just a clutch of reports and stories of the Tata group in the Bennett Coleman publications. Obviously 28 pages are not enough to do justice to the groups’ relationship, that has endured over 150 years.

The webpage illustrates the emergence of Tata as a leading business empire and the step by step coverage of its journey by the Times publication over the years. What could be more unprincipled than a leading newspaper wallowing in the glory of its relation with the esteemed business group and revering it by publishing articles about it? Is there any scarcity of social or political issues in our country, which require more attention that this newspaper, owned by Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd., has divulged into such thoughtless form of journalism?

The Times of Tata

This is an example of the rising trend of paid news in media. Most of the newspapers today publish stories in favor of a particular company to which they are aligned. In a research conducted by Dilip Mandal and R. Anuradha published in Media Ethics, it was found that the board of directors of a number of media companies comprise of representatives of big corporates. It was reported that the board committee of Jagran Publications includes the managing director of Pantaloon Retail, Kishore Biyani, McDonald India’s MD, Vikram Bakshi, and Mirza International’s MD, Rashid Mirza, along with the CEO of media consulting firm Lodestar Universal India, Shashidhar Sinha, and the chairman of the real estate firm JLL Meghraj, Anuj Puri. The board of directors of HT Media, which publishes Hindustan Times and Hindustan, comprises of K. N. Memani, the former chairman of Ernst & Young, and the chairman of ITC Ltd., Y C Deveshwar. Several other media houses also possess big industrialists as their board committee members.

It’s not an unknown fact that all the big corporate companies are in cut-throat competition with each other. Therefore, in order to lobby their own business interests, they use the platform of media. Even if the journalists want to report the truth, their stories are edited beyond recognition ultimately presenting a biased view.

The Indian media has tasted a huge commercial success in the last few years; however, this success has come at a price of the decline in the standard of journalism. This closeness with the corporate sector has caused confusion in the media towards its priorities. Rather than becoming a forum for the public opinion, it caters to the vested interests of the top-notch business companies. The webpage by Economic Times reflects deplorable state of journalism in India to the forefront.

 

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  • Mayank jandyal

    Very true. Today almost all news channels & newspapers are biased. The standard of journalism has declined. It’s high time that some strict regulations are made to keep a check on paid news & use of media by corporates for their own selfish interests.

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Google Announces ‘Journalism AI’ Project

According to Google, in Asia-Pacific, journalists and publishers are increasingly grappling with questions over how quality journalism can thrive in the digital age

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A Google logo is seen at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

To help news industry use Artificial Intelligence (AI) in more innovative ways, Google has announced a partnership with Polis, the international journalism think-tank at London School of Economics and Political Science, to create “Journalism AI”.

Part of the Google News Initiative (GNI), the “Journalism AI” project will focus on research and training for newsrooms on the intersection of AI and journalism.

“As part of ‘Journalism AI’, next year, we’ll publish a global survey about how the media is currently using — and could further benefit from — this technology,” Google said in a statement on Friday as it organised GNI Innovation Forum here.

“We’ll also collaborate with newsrooms and academic institutions to create a best practices handbook and produce free online training on how to use AI in the newsroom for journalists worldwide,” informed Matt Cooke, Head of Partnerships and Training, Google News Lab.

After testing with partners over the last two years, Google also introduced a new tool called Google Earth Studio which is an animation tool for Google Earth’s satellite and 3D imagery.

The tool empowers graphics specialists with new ways to leverage Google Earth imagery for storytelling.

“We’re inviting newsrooms around the world to start using the product for the first time,” said Google.

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Google on a smartphone device. Pixabay

According to the company, it has provided free training to journalists on a range of tools reaching more than 140,000 people in-person.

“Our training on Google tools for journalists are now available in 16 languages — including Indonesian Bahasa, Thai and Turkish,” said Cooke.

Google News in November launched a new innovation challenge to help scribes and publishers in the Asia-Pacific region produce quality journalism in the digital age.

Also Read- Elon Musk May Buy GM Plant to Increase Tesla Production

The Asia-Pacific Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge will fund selected projects up to $300,000 and finance up to 70 per cent of the total project cost, that inject new ideas into the news industry.

According to Google, in Asia-Pacific, journalists and publishers are increasingly grappling with questions over how quality journalism can thrive in the digital age.

“From Yangon to Manila, Sydney to New Delhi, they are experimenting with fresh approaches to reporting and new business models,” said the company. (IANS)