Television

TV news coverage of corruption issues up 11 times: CMS study

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MUMBAI: Television news channels are crusading against corruption as never before. Corruption coverage in primetime bulletins by the six television news channels during 2005 to 2011 have grown over eleven times in terms of percentage, a research study by CMS (Centre For Media Studies) Media Lab reveals.

Though the coverage of corruption-related issues by TV news channels as well as newspapers have increased substantially, especially during Anna Hazare‘s fast in August, petty corruption involving vulnerable sections of people are yet to become a concern for the media.

The study - ‘Face of Corruption in News Media 2011‘ – says that the priority is for scams and scandals rather than for systematic issues and correctives that need to be pursued. The far off and grassroots level corruption hardly figured.

It said the coverage related to corruption issues was well over eight per cent of primetime and six per cent of front pages from January-June 2011, but during Anna‘s fast the coverage overall went up to over 60 per cent of primetime of news channels and mostly live coverage.

"Reporting on corruption in news media between the year 2010 and 2011 has doubled. However, during July – September of 2011 alone the coverage has more than tripled," noted CMS director PN Vasanti in the report. "Since the Anna Hazare crusade, there are initiatives all around and all across the states towards curb, contain corruption and the compulsions. With the kind of spread of e-seva and e-governance services, and transparency movement gaining ground, hopefully news media would take up reporting these in 2012 and expedite the process of decline of corruption."  

     

  Mainstream news media attached priority to scams and scandals involving high-profile personalities. "Most of the corruption covered in 2011 involved individuals, but with high profiles and of high scams. English channels focused relatively more – both on institutions and individuals; while Hindi news channels focused relatively more on individuals in their coverage of corruption," the report stated.

The study pointed out that there were seven scandals, which were reported more often in the stories of news media – channels, newspapers and radio – during the period of the study. Of these, four were to do with government (2G, CWG, Adarsh, Bofors), two were to do with civil society (Ramdev and Anna Hazare) and two (Hasan Ali and Citi Bank) were from private / corporate.

"The news channels focused more on scams referring to politicians and bureaucrats and to big public utilities / services (like CWG, DGCA, GNDA, etc). CNN-IBN had only 21 percent for covering such corruption against as high 90 percent of Aaj Tak and 81 percent by Star News. Even DD News had 42 percent coverage to do with corruption involving or referring to bureaucrats. In all, major stories covered by news media were analysed. By and large they were all chasing the same stories, and even same way," said the report.

This CMS Media Lab study for January – June 2011 involves analysis of primetime (7– 11 pm) coverage of corruption by news media. It includes front pages of six newspapers (Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhasjar, Hindustan, The Hindu, The Times of India and Hindustan Times), six news channels (NDTV 24x7, CNN-IBN, Zee News, Star News, DD News and Aaj Tak) and AIR news.

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