G S Swetha Rao
Journalism has a value, a purpose to serve as a check on power – Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian.
Be it today, yesterday or tomorrow, Journalism remains to have retained its value of having a check on power. What has been changing its purpose here is the nature of ‘check’ that is done. Journalism today, is of the man in power. It is the power that determines what should be reaching the masses, when and how. Journalism today is of an incestuous relationship with those in power.
The media specifically in India has always been a thriving enterprise. What began as a modest newspaper service in the late 18th century transformed into radio broadcasting and television news programs in the 20th century before the boom of the internet. The internet today provides a strong platform for everyday Indians to voice their opinions on practically any topic. Social media like Facebook and Twitter are today at the heart of national news distribution. And India is the biggest news market in the world – with 82,000+ newspapers, 690+ satellite channels and 250 million internet users.
However, today the fundamental definition of journalism itself is at stake due to reporting and writing that turns intuition into facts, gossip into evidence and deception into breaking news. Anything and everything becomes news. From Salman Khan’s rape comment to what a random girl thinks about a romantic song in Baahubali. The media today makes any person under the sun famous in no time. The significance of media and the importance of news in a societal sphere is thereby losing substance. The invasion of digital journalism is all the more adding on to the deliberate demise of credibility of news on the whole.
Political patronage, opinionated anchors, selective coverage, and ideological loyalties are day after day posing a serious threat to the fundamental rule of journalism – to provide news with no distortion. Indian journalism is swiftly becoming a competition between news agencies. It is more or less turning into a series of attractive headlines with little or compromised content, endless advertisements and fact adulteration or selective reporting. Sensationalism has become the rule of the day. There is immeasurable content but then there exists a misguided direction that has led to the disgrace.
Journalism today has been reduced to clickbait links. Human interest has overtaken hard news. Although the digital front has only entertainment beat to care about, mainstream media on the other hand is leaning towards their political interests. However, to a large extent at least in terms of regional news media, the masses are aware of the political ownership of a few news outlets. Thus selective journalism is complemented by selective consumership as well.
All said and done, it is also worthy of mention that the availability and accessibility of media to the larger public is making a few evils of the society make it to the spotlight.
Which would have otherwise gone unnoticed!