All India Radio (AIR) : Credibility of Media

  • IASbaba
  • December 28, 2017
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All India Radio
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Credibility of Media


Search 7th November 2017

TOPIC: General Studies 2

  • Pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity
  • Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders

Prime Minister was addressing the platinum jubilee celebrations of Tamil daily Dina Thanthi at the University of Madras.  Here a message was directed at the editors and media persons to use editorial freedom wisely, maintain credibility and work in public interest. Now, the focus and attention of media should not remain confined to editorials on politics but to look beyond them. Credibility and working in public interest, looking beyond politicians, bringing out success stories of ordinary Indians is a new growth potential of Indian media. There are many language mediums, print-electronic-digital broadcast mediums that can offer new insights and developments happening around common man’s life and not stick around politicians and their random statements. If such an exercise is not carried out soon, the credibility of journalism will be at stake.

Freedom vs. Licence

Freedom of right to free speech and expression is fine but it doesn’t mean that it is a licence to abuse and a licence to offend. This is something which really needs to be distinguished. Freedom in constitution under article 19 (1)A gives freedom of expression of one’s ideas and opinions but it is Art 19 (2) which talks about reasonable restrictions. Responsible usage of freedom to speech and expression lies on the person using them.

A misplaced focus

It is evident that Indian media is obsessed with politics but as a developing country, it cannot afford diversion from its focus and rectify the misplaced priorities Indian media has largely grown into an urban centric media. It is not even suitable to be called as national media but Delhi media for the news it forecasts, for instance, water logging in Gurugram is more important than reporting about devastating floods in Bihar, Bengal or Assam and urging people to help them.

This obsession with politics has ignored the real success stories of a common Indian. The Indian dreams are being realised but they are not highlighted enough and more stress is given to problems and darker side of the world news.

It has to be realised that India’s development priorities are different, stories are different, success stories with short comings need to be focused upon so that common man gets inspired from fellow citizen and takes inspiration. Excess spotlight on politics has just spread negativity in behaviour as well as thought process of the citizens.

Generations have to be inspired

There is a whole new generation to be inspired and that cannot be done only with widespread depressing news. It had been a common practice to cultivate a habit of reading newspapers in the morning. Excessive negative news has repelled people from developing the reading newspaper habit. This is detrimental to young people’s growth. No doubt, a lot of issues confront a developing country like India but there are many positive sides of developing countries too which need to be told about.

For instance, Swachh Bharat Mission saw media responding positively in spreading the message of keeping cleanliness.  Raising socially important issues like significance of personal and community toilets, separate toilets for girls and boys in the school, education of health and hygiene, is as much media’s responsibility as a government’s.

A country where 65% of our population is below 35 years, there are bound to be aspirations and dreams. The government should not attempt to regulate media or anything like that and the state has absolutely no role in its functioning except for maintaining decency and national interest.

Press is called the fourth estate which defines its power but misuse of such power is criminal. The reforms in the media can only come from within through introspection.

Indian media has highlighted corruption at high places and misuse of power but these are issues pertaining to obsession to politics, misplaced priorities, sensationalism and recent phenomena of paid news. In a competitive world where the print media is fast winding up, even leading American like Newsweek has wound up, the young media is going digital. So there is a great challenge to survive and succeed. For that there is need to introspect, come out with more credible, believable and an objective media in which the people can trust.

Citizen participation in journalism

The citizens with mobile phones are becoming pseudo journalists and help in dissemination of success stories of individuals as well as reporting of any unpleasant event. The citizen journalists can be given columns or slots for their news. This kind of journalism can help the government in directing actions in times of crisis and natural disaster or direct the concerned individual to take its support from dedicated schemes. Earlier, there used to be dissemination of news from one end but today there can be a reply to same news too.  If one thing is hidden, there will be 10 people who are going to highlight it, if there is any wrong or misleading news, 10 people will write on social network sites and expose the truth.

Thus, cross checking of news and facts from authentic source should be encouraged. Research has been a weak point and so well-researched articles, not relying only on google searches but taking help of other sources should be taken up.

More investment is needed in back in ground reporting and field reporting where going to the grass roots will restore the credibility of the media.


Journalism is a big success but India doesn’t have effective data journalism.  The data in form of parliamentary reports, CAG reports, think-tank reports are not thoroughly analysed and lot of high value data remains idle. It is necessary to bring more information to the people about how their money is been spent, what benefits are existing for them, what projects are completed, and those lagging behind are expected to get completed by when, stats about health and education, etc.

Such data journalism is expected to bring new areas in light, make some introspection on public interests and promote responsible journalism.

Connecting the dots:

  • “Media is responsible to development of a society as much as government policies are”. Critically analyse above statement.

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