As news channels bend backwards to give flight to Narendra Modi‘s prime ministerial ambitions, the Indian Express‘ television critic, Pratik Kanjilal, writes on the Mukesh Ambani-controlled Network 18‘s unquestioning schmoozefest with the Gujarat chief minister:
“Modi also addressed a business forum in Kolkata, but the big one was the multimedia love-feast organised by Network 18.
“TV, blow by blow Web updates, social media, the works, with Modi hosted by Sanjay Pugalia, one of the first television journalists, and the discussion led by media entrepreneur Raghav Bahl.
“With no trace of journalistic scepticism, this was a promo. The guest was so much at ease that he asked after Sagarika Ghose and Rajdeep Sardesai. It’s sobering to recall that Sardesai had done excellent street-to-street reporting on the Gujarat violence of 2002.”
Read the full column: Twitter alert
Also read: ‘For cash-stuck TV, Modi fetches TRPs’
Sheela Bhatt, senior editorial director of rediff.com and India Abroad:
“Where do the media figure in this turbulent transformation of Indian society? The plain truth is: Nowhere.
“Making loud noises is not journalism. There are over three million cases pending in India’s 21 courts and 26.3 million cases in the lower courts and a quarter of a million undertrials in jails. Do we care?
“Even our worldview is getting skewed as most English-language newspapers have tie-ups with Western media sources. They reprint the Western perspective on world events. Still we say that the Indian media is ‘influential’!
“Take the issue of dynastic politics or the maladies of Indian democracy. The Indian media has not been effective in generating public opinion against them. In fact, it has shamefully indulged in ‘paid news’.
“Many controversial members of Parliament are columnists and television panelists.
“Corporate influence on the media is evident. On an average, newspapers give half a page of news coverage to parliamentary proceedings. In the name of reader interest much is omitted, while cricket, cinema and entertainment get prime attention.”
Read the full article: Sheela Bhatt on the Indian media