The Media and the Man: talk by Mr Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

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Media is the reflection of our ‘noisy, chaotic and anarchic country’. But do media always portray the truth? Is it corrupt? These questions were addressed by veteran journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta in an interactive talk on 22nd February. The talk was organised by Samvedita aiming at spreading awareness about modern media and its facets.

Media often shows the tainted truth. Despite being a democracy, news on radio is still a monopoly of the government of India. Though 72,000 publications are currently registered with The Registrar of Newspapers of India, only less than a hundred cater to more than two-thirds of the population.

Defying conventional norms of capitalism, the intensification of competition in the media has been accompanied by a discernible lowering of ethical standards. The race to grab eyeballs has seen a simultaneous ‘dumbing down’ of content as TV channels have become prisoners of a highly inadequate and flawed system of TRPs (television rating points) to ascertain audience sizes. ‘Dumbing down’, sensationalism, trivialization and an unhealthy obsession with the four Cs—crime, cricket, cinema and celebrities—have become the norm.

The talk, followed by an interactive session, shed light on the audience’s perceptions about media, most of which were misconceptions. In spite of measures being taken by The Press Council of India, an improvement in the content being aired is far from visible. That, certainly, is a propaganda for the future.

–Reported by: Priyanka Chakrabarty, I PSEng; Edited by: Vidya M G, II CEP

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