‘Paid news and private treaties are destroying journalism’

12:51 PM, Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

rahul-jalaliMangaluru : Press Club of India President Rahul Jalal said media does not just change public perceptions, but also creates perceptions.

Jalali, who has more than three decades of experience covering Kashmir, Pakistan and insurgency issues for various reputed newspapers, was in the city on Monday to participate as a keynote speaker at a media conclave on ‘Does Media Alter Public Perception?’ organised by Spearhead Media Private Limited.

Referring to the changing trends in journalism, he recalled how about three decades ago a newspaper was identified by its editor. “Today, the editors have taken backseats and the owners of the newspapers are calling the shots,” he remarked.

“Due to the explosion of media, the pattern of ownership in the media has undergone sea change,” he said and added that the concerns of owners and advertisers has driven out news and editorial from media.

Speaking on how paid news and private treaties are smothering the media, Jalali regretted that these two phenomenons are seen only in India and they are destroying Indian journalism.

Dwelling on sensationalism in television channels, Jalali said they would go to any extent to create perception, simply because ‘sensationalism’ sells.

Televisions thrive on sensationalism and provocative content. An input editor of a famous news channel was exerting pressure on his on-field reporter covering cross-firing in Kashmir to increase the death toll though the truth was that none died in the cross-firing.

The ultimate news flashed on the channel said ‘four villagers suspected to have been killed in cross-firing in J&K’, only because the contenders were increasing the death toll, remarked.

Jalali pointed out that news channels first decide on the ‘line’ to follow and tow the same lines, keeping all journalistic ethics aside.

“News channels set trends in India and they have their star faces, who are the templates for their channels. The channels while covering an issue, first decide on the theme and stick by the theme,” he said and added that a classic example for media ‘changing’ and ‘creating’ perception could be Aarushi Talwar case.

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