A common man in his busy life does not know much about what happens next door. He neither has time to inquire into things nor bothered about others. All the information he knows is only through media. Indian media has been recognized as sensitive patriotic and very influential tool in the socio political sphere since the days of the freedom movement. The media is responsible for moulding the mind & thoughts of a common people. We depend only on print/electronic media for the happenings and latest issues prevailing in our society. But the present trend in media sector of paid news is shameful and challenge in the path of Indian democracy.
Paid news is also called as one sided news in which privilege is given to an individual or group of individual. Paid news are advertorial it means it is an advertisement in the form of editorial. The advertorial are designed to look like articles and they are completely fabricated. It would be kidding to believe that paid news gain ground only during election times but the undiscovered reality of paid news is that they are continuous process. Paid news also comes into existence during scams as they try to convince people and it plays a vital role to hide the malpractice of government authorities
Incidences of Paid News
Maharashtra – During 2009 Maharashtra elections the complaint against Mr. Ashok Chavan was filed on the ground that he paid money to some Marathi and Hindi newspapers during the 2009 elections to write in his favour.
Uttar Pradesh – The case of Umlesh yadav is landmark one in which an MLA was disqualified to contest elections for 3 years for incorrect statement of election expenditure incurred on news item.
Gujarat – There has been large scale practice of paid news in the Gujarat elections a fact finding team of PCI (press council of India). Not only the print media but even the visual media indulge in large scale. In 2012 election Gujarat has reported as many as 126 confirmed cases of paid news among which 61 candidates admitting of have paid for such news in electronic and print media.
Recently the case of zee news can also be covered in the ambit of paid news where Mr. Naveen Jindal(member of parliament) claiming that the channel attempted to extort Rs 100 crore from him for not airing stories against his company in coal block allocation, a charge strongly denied by the media house. The case is a clear example of paid news where on the basis of consideration and certain understanding between the corporate masters and media persons in which the allegations against culprits are buried.
Effects of Paid News
The paid news has created a drastic effect in the minds of common people where people are in the wrong perception about the functioning and working of government.
Politicians spent large amount of money then prescribed by the ECI (Election Commission of India) during elections.
Common people always get the fabricate news which undermines the concept of transparency in the world’s biggest democracy.
Privilege is given to elite classes and the problems like poverty, terrorism, pollution, rape and increasing crime is totally ignored and if not then importance is given to few cases. for example when Rahul Gandhi went to stay in Dalit house the news was telecasted worldwide but before that no news channel came to telecast the problems of Dalit people.
Unfortunately a cancer in the form of paid news has been diagnosed with the Indian media in the recent past. It leads to the commercialization of mainstream media and degradation of media ethics. Till what extent the political class and fourth estate were in bed together, leading to the hollowing out of democracy by big money and power. The press thus functions as a repository of public trust and has the obligation to provide truthful and correct information to the best of its ability. There is a urgent need to protect the right of the public to accurate information before voters exercises their franchise in favour of a particular candidate in the electoral fray.
People who claim to show mirror to society should see the mirror themselves
Picture Courtesy: Outlookindia