Tag Archives: Media Freedom

Are government ads distorting media freedom?


Swapan Dasgupta in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

“The national capital boasts a multitude of daily newspapers in different languages. On my part, I subscribe to seven dailies and one is delivered to me free of charge. This Wednesday, which happened to be a public holiday on account of Janmashtami, I perused all eight of these Delhi editions for their advertisement content — the main revenue source for the print media. Four of the eight were entirely dependent on display or tender advertisements of either the government (both Central and state) or public-sector enterprises.

“Only three of the eight dailies had a healthy contribution of private sector advertisements in addition to the ones issued by State bodies. The methodology of assessment may not be entirely scientific, but I think it indicates a growing distortion in the media: their over-dependence on subsidies from the State.

“Expressed more cynically it suggests that there is an increased willingness — perhaps involuntary and triggered by market conditions — to be more accommodative to the concerns of the government. And what is true for the print media is even more applicable to the electronic media, where news-gathering expenses are higher and the operating losses even more significant.”

Infographic: courtesy The Economic Times

Read the full article: A growing distortion

Also read: What sustains our ‘free’ media is government ads

Times, Express get most anniversary ads

How UPA is hitting back at ToI, DNA, Indai Today


Is India right in barring foreign journalists?

The Great Wall between India and China is not made of bricks and mortar; it is made of freedom and liberty. Any debate, any discussion, anywhere, on the superpowers-to-be is sealed, signed and delivered by the roaring presence of those essential ingredients in plentiful on our soil, and the utter lack of it in our great neighbour.

China notoriously detests dissent—and democracy.

It bars foreign media from freely moving inside its boundaries; Tibet is off-limits to them as is Tiananmen Square. BBC was famously taken off Rupert Murdoch‘s Star Network at the behest of the comrades. Google and Yahoo effortlessly dance to the tunes of the Chinese dictators. Chinese citizens routinely can’t log into YouTube, Facebook and other media. And so on.

But has difference between “us” and “them” been erased by the Congress-led UPA government?

In barring foreign journalists from going to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh to report the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama‘s week-long visit to the northeastern State which China off and on claims as its own, has the Manmohan Singh government thumbed its  nose at India’s great democratic traditions?

Has India missed a trick in showing its inviolable sovereignty before a global audience? In behaving much like China would, has the Congress-led regime obliterated the difference between democracy and dictatorship? Or was the government right given the war-mongering that has recently been on display?

Also read: Media freedom is what separates India and China

Censorship in the name of ‘the national interest’?

Indians favour stability over press freedom: BBC

Hard to believe but it’s true. “Although Indians are not strong advocates of media freedom and are generally satisfied with the accuracy of news reporting in their country, they are in favour of having a say in newsreporting decisions,” according to a survey done by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to mark its 75th anniversary.

India is only one of the three countries polled—Singapore and Russia being the other two—“where people who believe stability is more important than press freedom outnumber those who believe freedom is more important.” As many as 11,344 people across 14 countries took part in the poll conducted by the international research firms Globescan and Synovate.

Forty-eight per cent of respondents in India felt ensure peace and stability was more important in a society and hence felt controls were needed sometimes. Around 40 per cent Indians expressed the view that press freedom was more important to ensure a fair society. Singapore and Russia, among the countries polled, turned in similar results.

The BBC press release says this about India in toto:

“Forty-eight per cent of Indians (versus 40% globally) put stability first, while 41 per cent (56% globally) put freedom first. A further 11 per cent did not answer this question. In terms of its ability to report the news accurately and without bias, the Indian media is perceived as freer than that of almost any other nation in the survey.

“Seventy-two per cent of Indians give a high freedom rating, compared with 56 per cent worldwide. Only 10 per cent give a low freedom rating, compared with 19 per cent globally. Indians are more positive about the accuracy and honesty of government or publicly-funded news reporting than any other country surveyed.

“Fifty-seven per cent of Indians give a “good” performance rating to public news organisations, compared with 39 per cent globally. Private, for-profit news organisations are viewed more favourably, with 64 per cent rating their performance “good” (versus 43% globally), although this is slightly less positive than the response in Africa.

“Fifty-seven percent of Indians agree that growing consolidation of private media ownership is a major issue “because you often see owners’ political views emerge in the news”, while only 30 per cent agree with the opposing view that “media owners do not interfere with the news content” (14% did not answer).

“Fifty-five percent think “it is important that people like me have a say in what gets reported in the news”, while 33 per cent think “decisions as to which stories get reported in the news are best left to news organisations”, with a further 12 per cent unable to answer.”

Read the BBC press release here: World Service poll

Infographic: courtesy BBC

Crossposted on churumuri