Ethics in Journalism - a myth or reality!

Anti Corruption • 17 April 2014
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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, newspapers, portals or TV channels are mostly run by rich cronies or politicians or a mouth piece of some political party. No wonder, news obviously comes out to general public smearing its own colors / hues and 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.

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 becomes a hotter and important news than the death of scores of children from hunger in a remote village or covert chemical genocide of ignorant citizens in cities via air pollution.

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 can now exploit digital media Google, Facebook, Twitter, 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 ethics. 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 new breed of media people are arrogant 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 surely can.

Journalism has always been a business and writing or reporting in any form is inevitably interpretive. The motive of publishers 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 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, analysis & severely lacks integrity towards the society & 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 of India had recently opined. Just like Rubert Murdoch's legacy most media houses in India have direct links to commerce houses and political parties which is always reflected in the type of news they report and the opinion created by them.

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 Leaks, Snowden and Many Other Unknowns exposing 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.

Even smaller portals like which are entirely non-profit without even ads are mocked by the profiteering right-wingers as unfit foolish ideas vs great startup heroes enrolled and funded by the greater "Bhakt India Company".

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.

Anti Corruption

We, as a specie, have carelessly over populated the planet, fowling our own nest, largely for our own comfort & survival. That makes us our own worst enemies busy #mining in any backyard available. For short-term development, we must love #RamBhorase dancing to "sava sau crore" tune of #emperors, no god will help we the ignorant populace. The 1% ruling suckers Plan B is reserving inter-stellar second homes for their own kids and elite breeds? Situation is extremely challenging for many lesser-known groups like Dalit Adivasi Mazdoor Sangathan & weaker individuals unlike well-funded, well-branded #bhaktoists. No fight is black & white, no smokes w/o fire. Development of #profiteers at the cost of media martyrs, activists, environment & security staff as guinea pigs?

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