The 2009 general elections have been marred by widespread accusations and whispers of media hanky-panky.
The Wall Street Journal‘s India bureau chief Paul Beckett accused reporters, editors and newspaper owners of holding the Indian democratic process to ransom. Women journalists in Andhra Pradesh wrote to the Election Commission drawing attention to Telugu dailies selling news space to political advertisers. And on top of all this, there are well-established institutional deals and so on.
How much of all this buying and selling affect reader trust in media vehicles? Not much.
The National Election Survey 2009 compiled by the Lokniti team of the Centre for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) for The Hindu asked precisely the question:
Question: “Do people trust the news they read in newspapers?”
Answer: “Forty-five per cent of respondents said that they greatly trusted what they read in newspapers. A similar number said that they somewhat trusted newspaper reports. Around 10 per cent had little faith in what was reported in the papers.” (emphasis added)