Can ‘boycott’ be a word in the news lexicon?

Can news organisations decide unilaterally to boycott events and individuals and yet call themselves news organisations?

Back in the innocent 1980s, The Hindu decided to ban coverage of horse racing for a while in protest against the fixing that was going on. (The fact that the paper’ then publisher, the recently deceased S. Rangarajan, had an interest in horse-racing swung the debate.)

When Praveen Togadia was barking like a cracked canine in the aftermath of Godhra and spewing hatred on television, there were many who advocated starving the heart surgeon of the oxygen of publicity. And every now and then, some minor press union or the other announces a boycott in protest against something or the other.

But the Associated Press has gone the whole hog. The news agency has announced that it will no longer run stories about Paris Hilton, the 26-year-old socialite, actress, singer, hotel-fortune heiress who has been described a “celebutante”, and who runs into trouble and storms into the headlines every day.

The boycott has since been called off, but a precedent has been set. Good move? Bad move? If Hilton can be banned from its wires, what is to prevent AP from, say, announcing a boycott of North Korea or Kashmir or Abu Ghraib?

What’s the whole idea? That AP has had enough? That it wants others to also follow suit? That it thinks that Hilton does whatever she does every day only to grab some column centimetres? That the moment the papers and channels stop covering her antics, she will stop those antics?

In other words, does a tree that falls when nobody is around, not make a noise?

Read the full story here: We’ll always have Paris?

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1 Comment

  1. greatunknown

    If Indian newspapers were to go on a boycotting spree we’d be left with gaping holes. For one, there are too many rabble rousers promoting their ’causes’. And then there are far too many people agreeing to disagree on virtually every issue there is to debate under the sun.
    I sometimes feel that we’ve taken our democracy for granted; and more than anywhere else it is reflected in the kind of news stories that make headlines.
    But it’s still a good bet. Isn’t it time the Indian media got judicious in its selection of news reports?

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