Media is run by people. People have biases, which are getting wilder as the world goes more wireless, sky-drone, boundary-less and mobile. Those biases always reflect directly or in terms of what they choose to show / publish or not. Ethics always existed but in very small doses and its increasingly rare and myth. Governments are worried about saving their butts, and unethical or paid journalism plays a big part in that so they won’t have to create laws and advocate a social culture that support truth, transparency and ethics.
In today’s world, mobile apps, newspapers, portals or TV channels are mostly run by rich cronies or politicians or a mouth piece of some party or its allies. No wonder, news obviously comes out to general public smearing its own colors / hues, we the people only get different versions of the same story. They tell (misinform or ill-inform), and we decide as to what can be the truth or its modernist alternatives. Though news should be reported but not created by putting ideas / views in their mouth which often happens in numerous live discussions for hours together. In most cases, it is done for gaining stuffs like TRP, money, ad contracts, political favors, and more. And we are forced to counter these pandemic media viruses!
With few exceptions, which are targeted to appeal to specific political groups, journalists cover stories that they believe people want to know about. Most journalists are not politically biased as much as they are sensationally biased. They want something sensational and they will try to put a sensational slant on every story they cover.
Earlier media houses were run by people who wanted to make the public aware of events as they took place but today the media houses are run by cronies who have vested political and monetary interests. A journalist might want to speak only truth but the true stories drafted by him will only see light if the editor approves. If the editor who is bound to safeguard the business and political interests of the media group finds the stories drafted by the journalist contrary to the interests of the media group the latter will either have to drop his stories or compromise on the content. In either case truth is the first casualty.
Mostly a news item is published for its news value rather than the element of truth in it and its relevance for the society. Thus the bedroom story of a celebrity or ideological mockery of a political branding machine becomes a hotter and important news than the death of scores of children from apathy in a remote village.
During the last general elections the contesting candidates were approached by even leading newspapers to pay for news coverage. Pay a hefty sum and get a coverage in the newspaper else you get no coverage. They’re exploiting digital media Google, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc.. hire smart PR agencies to bombard good things during election time. A few decades ago this was something unimaginable but in the rat race for survival in today’s world the media houses have compromised on their commitment to leftist inscribed ethics synthesized from revolts and renaissances of our brave ancestors. A single news item gets published in two dailies in two different ways. Instead of reporting what has happened the media houses want to report what they want the public to believe.
The Media sensationalizes everything and helps divide people instead of uniting them. Also most of the newly suited-booted breed of media people are arrogant personalities and state their opinion as if it is objective reality. Bringing government controls to ensure objective reporting is not a solution. The public in general are aware of the biases of the newspapers they read or channels they watch. If the reader wants to find the truth behind a report he/she surely can despite 24/7 govt surveillance.
Journalism has always been a business and writing or reporting in any form, and is inevitably interpretive. The motive of publishers, editors, advertisers, producers and writers is and has always been to titillate the audience though they might refer to that goal with the more euphemistic term: interest of the reader.
Relying on India’s biased elite business media can be a deadly affair. Watch these to know how much low can they reach morally, free fall bungee jumping from ethics towards fun of quick money & fame.. Outrageous, yes. Let them declare REAL assets openly and prove if not paid by political masters, direct or indirect. Reading between lines, body language, their line of rich / pet panel experts, I’ll remain skeptical, however prolific their oratory or writing maybe.
Majority of Indian media hardy have any credibility. Most of the reporters are poorly educated in journalistic ethics, cultural morality, unbiased analysis & severely lacks integrity towards the society, value systems & truth. It is widely believed that money & power can easily buy practically any news media. A nice dinner at a decent restaurant with single-malt scotch is sufficient to plant any “news” even in national media!
At present its all about sensationalism and biased reporting – some dirty ticks in suppressed radia tapes. Radia’s conversations reveal deep-rooted malice by private enterprises in connivance with government officials for extraneous purposes, the Supreme Court had recently opined. Like Rubert Murdoch’s legacy most media houses in India have direct links to corporate houses / political parties which is always reflected in type of news they report / opinions created.
More concerning is the Indian authorities wanting to curtail social media – read some recent comments from even office bearing ministers. Divide and rule, pitch organized media vs unorganized social media, bhakts vs humanity. Hope they understand that despite shortcomings and in a global culture it is not wise to filter content from either media. Many democracies, including India & US, are yet to understand the importance of unbiased, neutral media to sustain a functional democracy, stop mutation of human values and empathetic cultures.
Finally, ideas like Wikileaks, Panama Papers, Snowden, Chelsha and Many Other Unknowns exposing public office crooks can be a close reality of ethical journalism – as they are adapting to take advantage of new circumstances and possibilities. Internet has become what journalism used to be full of choices full of news and your choice to choose who is ethical. Additionally the money that pays for this medium is usually the advertisers. New and less popular portals like WisePoint.org are entirely non-profit without even ads, reason why profiteering bhakts hate such unfit foolish ideas.
There is nothing wrong with making a profit so making money and being ethical are not always in conflict. One can be ethical and profitable at the same time. Clearly you can sometimes make more money by being unethical (as long as you don’t get caught) but that is no more or less true of journalism than any other field.