Challenges before media: Remain relevant. Avoid bias.

Edited excerpts of the conference

Media Ethics: Too personal

Jaya Prakash Narayan, President, Lok Satta Party: Moralising is not the way forward in case of news media. The decision to read a newspaper and watch a television channel lies with every individual.

So, instead of moralising media it is better that we refrain from indulging with some sections of themedia. While Indian media has served us well, there is a lot more that they can and need to do. This is because media continues to be crucial for the country.

Neerja Chowdhury, Senior Journalist and Political Commentator: Indian news media has come a long way but it is going in a wrong direction. Accuracy and credibility are qualities that any journalist should imbibe.

The role of media is to show the government a mirror—it can be right or wrongdoings of the people in authority. Whether it is government or media, both have their respective roles. The reverse role of media will divert the government from their primary responsibilities.

M K Venu, Founding Editor: The Wire: Instead of questioning media, the people in power and government should be questioned. Media should not embrace nationalist view.

Today, if the media questions the government and its activities, it is tagged as anti-national. Populist nationalism is a trend that is not limited to India alone, but can be seen in other democratic countries as well.

Snehasis Sur, Senior Journalist, Doordarshan News: In journalism, ethics is important. In news media, ethics is above any form of hierarchy. Media is about creating public opinion.

Prasad Kulkarni, President, PUWJ: The changing role of reporters from core responsibility of reporting to other activities has hit journalism. Today, the journalist has embraced the concept of multi-tasking and that has taken a toll. Now a good story has to face competition with paid news.

Satish K Singh, Group Editor-in-Chief, Broadcast Initiatives: In countries like the United States and United Kingdom, the publication and media houses inform their ideological inclination to the readers. This allows the reader to decide which side they would like to pick. India needs to follow that path. We need to be honest to our readers or viewers.

Amit Mandloi, Executive Editor, Dainik Bhaskar, Bhopal: Today, every media is questioned. You question those whom you trust. People still have some level of trust in media and we have to work towards listening to our readers and viewers. The more we listen to them, the more we will be able to bridge the gap between media and masses.

Digital Media: Empowers all

Jajati Karan, Founder and Editor-In-Chief, Ommcom News, Odisha: Digital Media is empowering working journalist to become entrepreneurs. To start a publication or launch a television channel, one will need crores of rupees, but digital media has allowed many to enter the news business with minimal capital.

The readers or viewers of digital media are not paying for the news they consume; but some one has to pay. So, in case of digital news, the person who pays dictates the rules. In digital space, consumers even start recognising the job of small media houses today.

Amit Mandloi, Executive Editor, Dainik Bhaskar, Bhopal: It takes a while for content on print and television to percolate. But in case of digital content, you get the feedback and know the position of the content that is put out within few minutes. There are tools like Google analytics etc. that help getting access to consumption data of digital content on real-time basis.

Fake News or Paid news

Jajati Karan, Founder and Editor-In-Chief, Ommcom News, Odisha: There are a lot of tools offered by organisations like Google, Facebook, Twitter and others, to check if the news is fake or true. These tools can help in tackling the menace of fake news.

Milind Khandekar, Digital Editor, BBC, India: More than news media, it is the social media that is responsible for spreading fake news. Today, many media houses are falling prey to fake messages found on social media and then are spreading fake news through their respective media.

Many people in power are making use of rumours which is amplified further for their benefit. Then, there are other set of people who are aware of fake news but still they end up forwarding or sharing fake news.

Balsing Rajput, Superintendent of Police (SP), Cyber Crime, Maharashtra: For us, fake news is not about pointing fingers but finding out reason behind spreading it.

With the advancement of technology, fake news is on a rise. There is a constant flow of information because every citizen is a journalist today. I strongly believe there is a need for media and cyber hygiene.

Nitin Brahme, Coordinator, The Wire, Marathi: Fake news is more or less about falling prey to hallow pride. Usually, fake news is about agenda setting. There are rumour mongering factories that are producing fake news in the country and then spreading it.

Shireen Sethi, Chief Operating Officer, N1 Media Consultancy: To bust fake news, take the help of technology but do not depend on it completely.

A human intervention (mostly a journalist) will do the job of busting fake news much better rather than any other algorithm. Here again the journalist who is hired for this job should have highest credibility.

Jayant Mainkar, Bureau Chief, UNI, Mumbai: For any story to become credible, the story should have a credible source.

Shesh Narain Singh, Journalist, Columnist and Political Analyst: The history of journalism is glorious and we need to maintain it. Fake news always existed, but today, the speed at which the fake news is spreading has increased drastically.

Manoj Bhoyar, Assistant Editor, Jai Maharashtra: We have become a victim of fake news. Whatsapp universally is becoming a source of false and doctored information.

And many media houses are trying to debunk these false news. But in this fight against people in power who are at times the ones spreading fake news, many journalists try not to become martyrs, but at the same time, undergo a mini-revolution.

Rajesh Kasera, National Head, The Patrika Group, Jaipur, Rajasthan: Both fake news and paid news are expanding their hold in media across length and breath. Due to Whatsapp forwards, truth has to spread and answer to the fake news that is being spread.

Prakash Dubey, Group Editor, Dainik Bhaskar, Nagpur Edition: During Mahabharata, fake news was used to defeat the opponent. It is inscribed in the scripture. But today the only difference is that fake news is delivered to a large population in a shorter time frame which has a large impact.

Paid and fake news are about profiting one side. Paid news is an expensive affair. It happens only during elections. It is high time that media houses stand against fake and paid news that is hurting the fabric of journalism.

S M Asif, Editor, In Dinon: Fake news and paid news are not a menace in case of Urdu newspapers. If we even dare to indulge in any such activity, we will be burnt down.

These types of news ramp up during the election time across media. This is usually the doing of politicians who depend on media to convey something specific about them which will help them hide their shortcomings.

Dayanand Kamble, Deputy Director, Maharashtra Information Centre, New Delhi: Most of the news media want to have paid news as it gives them extra income. This despite the fact that media is aware of the ills of it.

Challenges before media: Remain relevant. Avoid bias.

Fight of survival in conflict zone

Uday Mahurkar, Senior Journalist, Political Analyst: It is the responsibility of a journalist to state or write facts. I strongly believe that if Godhra train burning was recognised as an attack rather than accident, there wouldn’t have been huge loss of lives.

Vinod Agnihotri, Senior Journalist, Consulting Editor, Amar Ujala: Conflict journalism is adventurous at the same time difficult. During such conflicts, the journalist has no safe side – neither the government supports nor the people who are involved in the conflict.

Journalists have to find a safe place on their own. In a conflict situation, the journalist goes out to cover it despite fear to his or her life. The best way to find stories in such situation is to conduct an investigation on your own and find stories. You cannot depend on official statements to report on a conflict zone.

Prasad Kathe, Executive Editor, Zee 24 Taas: While reporting conflicts, facts are needed. In most cases, there are no follow-ups post conflict, but follow-ups are necessary. One should not forget wrong reporting can affect outlook.

Deepika Bhan, Senior News Television Journalist, Delhi and Kashmir: The biggest challenge while reporting from a conflict zone, which can also be your home, is that you need to keep a check on your emotions. At times, you might feel that you have reported one sided, or at times you feel that nationalism needs to be factored in as you report.

Mamata Mishra, Senior Staff Reporter, The Assam Tribune: Reporting from a conflict zone is a great opportunity that is available to a journalist. But with this great opportunity comes great responsibility. In such situations, the journalist walks through a tightrope.

Nilesh Khare, Editor, Saam TV: We have to be cautious in our reports. We need to report conflicts and not giving birth to controversy. So, while reporting stick to facts.

National Conference on Media and Journalism

Retrospect & Prospects

Pallavi Ghosh, Deputy Editor, National & Political Affairs, CNN – IBN: Journalists should introspect the past and see how it can be used to strengthen the future of media. There is this constant pressure to sensationalise any piece of news, but we should try our bit and not indulge in such acts.

Ramesh Bhatt, Senior Journalist: Media is facing a different type of challenge during this time and age, but I strongly believe that things will change over time.

Media has potential to put a lot of pressure. It is not to be forgotten that any government works better under public pressure and if media reflects public pressure, the authorities will act quickly.

Amit Mandloi, Executive Editor, Dainik Bhaskar, Bhopal: Media is a reflection of the society. The day people stop consuming sensational news, the media organisations will stop producing them. When there is demand, then there will be supply.

Subhash Shirke, Presenter, Commentator and Senior Investigative Journalist: On several occasions, the news angle is decided by trollers of political parties.

Topics that get the attention of netizens reach the newsroom and the newsroom becomes a victim to false news and those news get prime slots too.

This is mainly seen after the emergence of right-wing parties in the country. This trend is not limited to India but is present across countries like the US and UK.

Kashmir matters

M K Venu, Founding Editor, The Wire: While the Supreme Court and media have taken a nationalist view on Kashmir, I think the government should be questioned on their move in Kashmir. We need to question the people in power on a daily basis.

Neerja Chowdhury, Senior Journalist and Political Commentator: There are no stories coming out of Kashmir for over two months now and that is a cause of concern. The primary duty of a journalist is to go there and report.

Technology

Jayant Mainkar, Bureau Chief, UNI, Mumbai: Blame it on technology—rumours have existed since a long time but technology has now made these rumours reach people faster.

Manoranjan Mishra, Editor-in-Chief, Kanak TV, Odisha: With the advent of technology, especially artificial intelligence, there are many countries that are exploring this option in journalism. The industry should be aware about this development and should evaluate the impact it will have on journalism.

Satish K Singh, Group Editor-in-Chief, Broadcast Initiatives: There is a difference between media and news media. But today, everybody is a journalist due to their access to social media.

Karishma Kotwal, Senior Crime Correspondent, The Times of India, Madhya Pradesh: There are tools offered by Google, Facebook, Twitter etc, to combat fake news.

But media professionals are not making use of these before reporting any news item that is found on the social media. These technology organisations are conducting workshops with media organisations to make them acquainted with tools that can help bust fake news.

Chetan Sharma, CEO and Editorial Director, India Ahead News: The trouble faced by the industry is mainly due to its inefficiency in dealing with issue in one voice. I believe that stronger the government, weaker is the media; weaker the government, stronger the media.

Challenges before media: Remain relevant. Avoid bias.

Press Freedom

Rahul Mahajan, Editor-in-Chief, Rajya Sabha TV, Delhi: I do not believe there should be a specify law to protect any journalist as they are citizens of the country.

So it is natural that the life of journalist has to be protected. The Indian judiciary already provides journalist some protection. At times, the organisation, where a professional works, has to care for the safety and security of its employees.

Manish Awasthi, Chief Political Editor, Journalist, India News Channel: Press freedom is not possible without giving freedom to journalist. There should be some form of security for the journalist.

S N Vinod, Founder, Prabhat Khabar: The growing scrutiny on media has put the onus on media owners to come out of the dark era. The media owners should see how can they move forward. We are in the business of media.

So, it is the responsibility of media owners to get back the lost respect. While journalists are following the right direction, media owners should also carry out their duty diligently. Media owners have to rebuild the image of the media.

Laws that will make and break media

M K Venu, Founding Editor, The Wire: India has to do away with the old defamation laws and replace criminal defamation with civil defamation. This needs to be done considering that media organisations are sued for reporting facts.

Rajesh Badal, Former Executive Director, Rajya Sabha TV: Self-regulation is the best form of regulation. But news media is not creating any self regulation, nor is it allowing government to do so. It is time we look at ways to self regulate, as we have already taken a lot of time acknowledging the issues.

Satish K Singh, Group Editor-in-Chief, Broadcast Initiatives: Every media should self regulate rather than decide on external forces to regulate.

Samrat Phadnis, Commentator, Journalist & Editor, Sakal Media News: Media is thinking of regulation instead of guidelines. Whether it was print or broadcast, they were given some time to grow and post that there were talks about regulations.

I believe that we should give digital media some time before there are guidelines that are imposed on them. Digital media is not ready yet. It will take over a decade for digital media to understand the medium. Self-regulation will hurt digital media as it does not take time to convert such regulations into law.

Manoj Bhoyar, Assistant Editor, Jai Maharashtra: There is a need to have self-regulation for digital media that will be different compared to other mediums.

Satish K Singh, Group Editor-in-Chief, Broadcast Initiatives: We may talk about self-regulation, but you must not forget that the media is still accountable to the law of land and constitution of the country.

Ashok Bagariya, Legal Editor, Hindustan Times: In India, our legal system is outdated and inadequate to deal with fake and paid news that depend on technology.

There are technology companies that are publishing news. So, we need look at ways to deal with such issues and bring in some regulation in such cases.

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