Kartik Agarwal elucidates about the biased journalism as a problem in media and the dissemination of non – aligned news, and distinguishes that from degrading journalism.
The media, or as people say, the fourth estate is the most important aspect of a democracy. The power to critique is a formidable tool to possess, and while the Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution may establish grounds to provide restrictions on the said power, the simple fact that the media can influence the way people think is a testament to its reach. The media can help shape opinions, deconstruct policies, propagate views and provide insight into the functioning of the government. But lately, the media has been acting up. Distorted views and biased reporting has been the way to go. Now is it that the quality of journalism has degraded, or is it a more heinous crime, where the pen of the press is at the mercy of the sword of the top 1% and political parties? As viewers, we need expect our journalists to be unbiased and impartial. We expect them to report the facts as they are and not to add their own views to it. Likewise, the journalists ideally should expect the viewers to act as sentries and watchdogs who will guard this pillar of democracy.
The latest trend, however, is one where news channels align themselves to a political party or another, and begin to advocate the steps taken by the party. Political biasness is not hidden, but is here to stay in a very much ‘in-your-face’ kind of way. We have right-wing news channels and newspapers and then the left-winged ones. Neither one of them seem to be able to appreciate the other for the good efforts. You have a rule that favors communism and neo liberalism, you have papers favoring the left advocating the rule and you have media outlets favoring the right going against the law. The same rule applies vice-versa. Neither of the outlets seem to focus on the collective good of the nation, or if the law is, in totality, beneficial or not.
This trend of paying the media off to report on their behalf becomes especially rampant during the times of elections. The Election Commission is accounted for to have distinguished more than 1,400 instances of paid news somewhere around 2009 and 2013, amid which races were held in 17 conditions of India. One individual included, Deepak Chaurasia, host of India News, is blamed for being a promoter of paid news in India. In a video Aam Aadmi Party pioneer Arvind Kejriwal was viewed as having part of an influence time supervisor and educating the columnist on which part regarding the meeting ought to be played up additional. An Election Commission board has discovered four Lok Sabha decision hopefuls in Maharashtra blameworthy of depending on paid news. Objections against Congress competitors — Union clergyman of state for transportation and IT Milind Deora (Mumbai South), Sanjay Nirupam (Mumbai North), Vishwajit Kadam (Pune).
Such maybe a different story altogether. Maybe it is not that the media is biased but the quality is degrading. This is not to say that whole of the news media is bad, but a few fringe elements always remain. You see papers like the Times of India indulging in the Deepika Padukone controversy, where they objectified the actress and focused on her body than providing quality news. Then there is the case of extra of advertisements in the Times of India newspaper.
You get media outlets showing stuff like the apparent abduction of cows by aliens, and this by a leading news channel, India TV. Journalists like Arnab Goswami, who have prime time shows are unabashedly biased with their singular point of view and in the name of debate, they bully the person with the opposite point of view to either accept his point, or not speak. News channels show horoscope when they should be showing news.
The whole point of this article is that the quality of journalism in India stands on the edge, with one side being biased news and the other being degrading journalism. Yes we have been doing well, but we can do better. Biased journalism is a plague to the country’s integrity, its democracy and the very foundations on which it was found. On the other hand, degrading journalism means that we are not reaching our full potential. That we can do better, as a country, but are not. And the journalists are not the only ones to blame. The media is also a market, and the laws of demand and supply are applicable here too. We as consumers need to grow and start asking for quality journalism for them to provide us with the same.