Is Media Becoming A Tool To Subvert Democracy?

Newstainment is the ofrder of the day - Prof Neelima

Is Media Becoming A Tool To Subvert Democracy?

Experts Agree To Disagree On Journalism Today

Media functioning, govt and corporate control, checks and balances come for scrutiny at Jaipal Reddy memorial event.

HYDERABAD, JULY 28 (The CONNECT) – Journalism came for a close scrutiny during a panel discussion on "Is Media becoming a tool to subvert Democracy?”

The discussion was organised by S Jaipal Reddy Memorial Foundation here on the occasion of the 3rd death anniversary of the late Parliamentarian and a former union minister. 

In his opening remarks Prof. K. Purushotham Reddy, an eminent environmentalist, academician and development activist said LPG - Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation - have reduced media to be a just spectator and they are no longer watchdogs of society.  Corporatization of media resulted in less attention to smaller, differing, and dissenting voices. In the past, the media used to question people in power but we don't see that any longer.  Corporates invest in media, buy shares and control the media.  Now the mainstream media has come in the grips of corporate houses, which is a very dangerous situation. 

R. Dileep Reddy, Former Commissioner of RTI, Editor of Velugu, Telugu daily, and veteran journalist said media has strengthened democracy and played a key role in the country’s freedom movement.  Post- independence, however, things changed and newspapers have become products and brands.  And their survival was at stake. The media has gone under the control of fewer people.    

Prof Pavan Mamidi, Director of Centre for Social and Behavior Change, Ashoka University, Delhi said media evolved from freedom struggle to the digital era.

According to Karl Popper, who is best known for his contributions to the philosophy of science and epistemology, free speech needs to be regulated. Then he spoke about social media.  The good old media was considered as ‘one too many’. With the advent of the Internet, it has become a tool to communicate ‘one with multiple people’.    

  • The audience at  Jaipal Reddy Memorial event

Prof Kota Neelima, Director, Centre for Perception Studies -New Delhi, said it is not the question of whether Journalism is good or not. It is about the journalists.  The media passes the blame on public for the current state of affairs.  And the public blames the media. And the blame game continues.  As a result, the 'News' has become an ‘entertainer’.  Today, Journalists have no rules to follow.  Both the governments and media are working in cooperation, coordination, and collusion. The media has surrendered.  Regulation in the hands of the government is very dangerous.  Self-regulation is the best, she said.

Prof Sanjay Asthana, Professor of Journalism, Mid Tennessee State University, USA said “we need independent Journalism” “We need responsible and functional media. It is sad that governments are using sedition laws and putting them in jail,” he said.

Media is promoting anti-democratic values, said Prof. Donthi Narasimha Reddy, a Public Policy Expert. The media is getting manipulated.  It is not highlighting issues confronting society, the poor. Politicians are using diverting tactics by raising issues such as 'Cloud Bursting' to divert people from rains, and floods, the subject of serious concern.  And the media is getting carried away by the same and neglecting the real issues, incessant rains and floods bothering the people. No doubt the media is the 'watchdogs' of society.  But are they doing that job? he asked.

More than 100 people attended the 150 minute-long marathon panel discussion.

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