on the occasion, Outlook Editor Vinod Mehta said it
was natural for mediapersons and editors to be opinionated or have
prejudices and biases. However, these should not reflect in news
and should be voiced only in editorial comment.
He said media in India was facing its most major credibility crisis
since 1975 when the National Emergency had been imposed.
But media should realise that it is not a player on the national
scene: it merely has the best ringside seats to watch, report and
He felt that demands for self-regulation were a hoax since experience
had shown that even editors seldom wanted to come forward to make
clean confessions of mistakes made. The editor being the custodian
of a publication has to be above board. There was imperative need
for a Code of Conduct.
Rajdeep Sardesai of CNN-IBN said it was interesting that the media
was facing a vigorous credibility crisis at a time when it was the
most powerful but commanded the least respect unlike the
early years of Independent India when the media was not so powerful
but commanded respect.
Agreeing that television news channels had become entertainment,
he said that the primary external threat to the media was the business
model where the editor had to bow to the proprietor or the marketing
people. He also said the carriage fee demanded from TV channels
- which he claimed was like underhand payment was also a
The primary revenue of TV was from advertisements and not subscriptions
since the people were unwilling to pay. He said it was natural,
therefore, that channels resorted to telecasting programming like
that of Nirmal Baba, who paid for his time. He hoped the situation
would change after digitisation.
The internal threats were sensationalism instead of sense and jingoism
instead of journalism, since competition had taken away the moral
He was happy that the self-regulatory bodies of the news and general
entertainment channels were naming and shaming the culprits
in the eyes of their peers, since that would bring a semblance of
Thakurta regretted that the Press Council of India was toothless
and the scant respect given by the Government to the recent report
on Paid News was an example of this. He also wondered why private
radio was not being permitted to telecast news.
Mazhar Khan of the Oxford University Press which has published the
revised and enlarged edition of the book noted that OUP had completed
one hundred years in India.