Archive for December 2nd, 2009

The Media Slot Machine

2 December 2009
Journalism was once considered service to the people, to the nation at large. Free, independent press was regarded as the fourth leg of the triad of parliamentary democracy. If people were to make informed choices, then they should have full facts before them. Newspapers were expected to inform people without fear or favour. Mainstream newspapers however have been drifting from this world view over the years and were slowly beginning to view themselves as power brokers. Current state elections saw them hit the nadir. The distinction between hard investigative news reporting & paid for info-advertising extinguished completely. News and propaganda merged into one. “Packaged journalism” or “cover packages” is how celebrated columnist P Sainath of The Hindu describes this culture of using newspapers as slot machines where the sound of money falling into coffers is a certainty. Pudhari, Lokamat & Maharashtra Times( last of famed Bennett, Coleman & Company) the three vernacular Marathi papers carried an identical report (word by word) in the service of re-elected Maharashtra Chief Minister, Ashok Chavan. Read on the full article Mass media: masses of money? in the Hindu. Fourth Estate has metamorphosed into lucrative Real Estate