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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Aaker Patel: The complicity of India's news channels

In the following comments/analysis on the media Aaker touches raw nerves. He does not talk about the Muslim adventurists whom Mytahliuk ostensibly aped. You know the guys who emailed about the bombs just prior to their attacks. ....Oh well! ~~~t

One problem that television stations have is the quality of their journalists. Television reporters in India are a notch below print reporters (who are also not particularly competent by global standards). There is no process of training and fresh reporters are let loose on their beats with marginal understanding of the world they are covering. The majority of English reporters in India, print and television, would also fail the test of language, which should be worrying given that they trade in information.

English TV anchors depend heavily on stock phrases and cliche. Their questioning is long-winded and inevitably laced with a moral position. Information is rarely sought from the interviewee through precise questioning; what is sought is assent to the opinion that the anchor holds. This is something that comes naturally to the Hindi journalist, and he does it better.

A second problem in journalism is that of internal integrity, which Indian media have surrendered, along with their independence.

In the last decade, newspapers decided they would sell their editorial space just as they sold advertising space: through a rate card. People could have a story written about themselves or their product and the paper would publish this without informing the reader that this was actually an advertisement. All this was open and legitimate. There is little difference between this and the coverage of Muthalik, who also wanted to be covered, but with the difference that he did not have to pay.


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