North East

Uphold media ethics: Sardesai

GUWAHATI, Sept 5 – The media must ask itself questions of ethics, and the time has come to “name and shame” those media persons who have brought bad name to the profession.

This was observed by senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai while speaking during an event as part of the 4th foundation day celebrations of the Assam School of Journalism.

He said that the media, especially the electronic media, has over the years faced a big challenge with regard to the question of ethics to a large extent and is driven mostly by TRPs.

He said that many people who own TV channels have “low ethics”.

“Editors want to become Rajya Sabha members and owners are always looking for business opportunities… The time has come to name and shame the crooks in my profession,” Sardesai said.

He said that people have told him that most of the news channels in Assam are used by their owners for political purposes.

Expressing concern over issues like trial by the media and the media’s tendency to create sensationalism instead of informing the public in an informed manner, Sardesai said, “If you conduct media trials every day, we are going down the slippery slope. We must start asking ourselves ethical questions.”

He ruled the fact that national media generally tends to gloss over events and issues affecting the North East and other “areas in the periphery”.

Pointing to the Sheena Bora murder case, Sardesai said, “It is sad that journalists are spending so much time tracking

Indrani Mukerjea’s family tree instead of focusing on the floods in Assam.”

He said that the recent floods and violence in Manipur did not get any coverage in the media till the homes of ministers and MLAs were burnt down by protesters.

He said that “tyranny of distance”, which means incidents in far-flung areas do not get focus in the media, is affecting journalism in India.

R“In a country like India, there should be no periphery. In reality, we do not have any national news channels in India. We have metro news channels. If Indrani Mukerjea had been an ordinary citizen instead of being a celebrity and the owner of a media house, the case would not have made headlines,” Sardesai said.

“Is TV news only about hearing insane voices?… Are we competing in the box office? That way we will also show pornography tomorrow because it sells. Are we in journalism for TRPs?” he asked.

“There is something wrong with our system and something wrong with the way our country is evolving if we do not cover the floods in Assam just because floods happen in Assam every year,” Sardesai said.

Sardesai said that TV has turned journalists into
celebrities and made the common people fear journalists rather than respect them.

He said the issue of ethics has to be looked at by all media persons and hoped that the spread of the new media and citizen journalism would make journalism much better.(Courtesy, The Assam Tribune,September 5, 2015)

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