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OMBUDSMANSHIP IN THE INDIAN

MEDIA CONTEXT
Truth is the only element in the news reporting and that
should be the main motto for the media and the media
professionals. In India media groups are have been working
for the political agenda under name of the development
journalism. Every news media has collaboration with at least
one political party and conglomerates with corporate
companies. After the twentieth century, excessive
Corporatization of the media ownership reduced the
responsibility upon the public good. In this case, once again
we have to think and promote the self regulation, internal
criticism and unbiased news reporting regarding to the
Ombudsmanship. Even though the ombudsman concept is
unsuccessful in the Indian media context it is an inevitable
aspect for the current circumstances where the paid news,
selective gatekeeping, intentional news framing, high voltage
news broadcasting and competitive media policy, ruling the
society and ignored to focusing on the public good but,
concentrating on the profit-centric news propagation.
News ombudsman is a public editor and a representative. He
receives and investigates complaints from readers, listeners
and viewers in the various media about the accuracy, fairness,
balance and good taste in news coverage, in a way of neutral
and fair. He often recommends appropriate suggestions and
responses to correct and clarify news reports.
Ombudsmanship is a reflection of the conscience of the media
group that should be resembles in their news representation,
accountability, transparency and truthfulness towards the
public good. Internal criticism will help to maintain the thin
line between the social responsibility and freedom of the
expression. So, because of the independent and responsible,
Ombudsman plays a significant role as a connector between
the media professionals and the society, to increase the
awareness about the public’s concerns. Dedicated to
protecting and enhancing the quality of journalism by
encouraging respectful and truthful discourse about
journalism’s practices and purposes. He works to protect press
freedom and promote responsible, high-quality journalism.
Recommends the most suitable course of action to resolve
issues raised in complaints. Usually an experienced journalist,
an Ombudsman works outside the managerial and editorial
structure of the newspaper and reports either to the Chief
Editor or the publisher directly.
I focused mainly on two elements to study and analyse:
1. What are the reasons behind the Concept of the
Ombudsmanship is unsuccessful in the Indian media context?

2. Why it is important in the democratic nations like India,


those who were adopted the development journalism.

Ombudsmen see the world differently. They are there to sort out the differences among the various
critics, to engage with the public and to foster a culture inside the news organization to acknowledge
that the public must be part of the journalistic process.

Without that critical public’s presence and involvement, media ceases to play a role in the civic lives
of the readers, listeners and viewers. It becomes a one way mirror, reflecting only the views of the
media. And ombudsman ensures that the media culture is more like a two way flow.

Accountability is very significant in this sense, because the information seeking is an essential
component in the democracy where informed citizens are best able to make reasoned and informed
choices.

We are living in the most intense media culture that has ever existed one that has a powerful impact
on our daily lives as media consumers and most importantly as informed citizens. To ensure the goal
is to keep journalism operating at its best, ombudsman should deal with three conflicting aspects
such as, journalists, media managers and public.

Role of the ombudsman in the media:

To improve the quality of news reporting by monitoring accuracy, fairness, good taste and balance.
To help the news organisation become more accessible and accountable to the public and thus, to
become more credible.
To increase the awareness of its news professionals about the public’s concerns.

To save time for publishers and senior editors, broadcasters and news directors, by channelling
complaints and other inquiries to the appropriate individual.

To resolve some complaints that might otherwise become costly lawsuits.

To play a crucial role In maintaining independent and self regulatory journalism. By allowing the
public access to the journalistic process, undue influences of government, advertisers and various
community groups in the society.

The management's objection to appointing a journalist as an


ombudsman The short term can be justified on the ground that
this is in the nature of an experiment; hence the need for
caution. And, as has been suggested, the institution is
evolving.
Toi has taken a lead in this direction, justice p.n. bhagawathi,
former chief justice of india has been appointed ombudsman
in 1989. It was the first ombudsman of this kind in the
country.
Ombudsman would act as an arbitrator between the editor of
the newspaper and its readers for the speedy redressal of their
grievances regarding news items.
S. Viswanathan, Deputy Editor, Frontline, will take over as Readers’ Editor of The
Hindu on July 1, 2009. His appointment as independent, full-time internal news
ombudsman of the newspaper is for two years. He will succeed K. Narayanan, 76,
the quintessential professional who during his three-year tenure as Readers’
Editor made a pioneering contribution and shaped the way the institution
functions in India. In January 2006,
The Hindu became the first newspaper in India to appoint an independent full-
time Readers’ Editor. The key objectives were to institutionalise the practice of
self-regulation, accountability, and transparency; to create a new visible
framework to improve the accuracy, verification, and standards in the newspaper;
and to strengthen bonds between the newspaper and its millions of print
platform and online readers. The newspaper announced, at the time of
appointment, that it had been inspired by the exemplary practice and experience
of The Guardian, U.K., in a crucial area of journalistic performance. It adopted,
with minor modification, the Terms of Reference worked out for The Guardian’s
Readers’ Editor.

There is a international organisation regarding to the media ombudsmanship, is


organisation of news ombudsmen(ONO). It is a non-profit corporation, formed in
1980, registered in the state of California. ONO comprises international membership
of active and associate members. It maintains contact with news ombudsmen
worldwide, and organizes an annual conference for discussions of news practices and
issues connected with the news ombudsmen’s profession.

The idea and the word itself began in Scandinavia in the early 19th century. The word means
“representative” in Swedish, and an ombudsman is a person who acts as a trusted intermediary
between an organization and some outside or public constituency. Regardless of the different
names, the function remains largely the same and for our purposes, we will stick with the traditional
name of “ombudsman” as we describe the roles and responsibilities. In effect, the ombudsman (or
whatever it is called) represents the legitimate interests of that public community by seeking to
obtain explanations or even redress of complaints for the public.

News ombudsmen have the delicate but essential task of dealing directly with listeners, readers and
viewers who feel the newspaper or broadcaster has made an error in reporting or is biased on a
range of issues that can be as varied as the audience itself.

In some countries, particularly in France and other francophone countries, the journalistic culture is
that the ombudsman must act less as a judge and more as a mediator between the complainants
and the media organization. The goal is to find a resolution and common ground. Or if no resolution
between complainant and media organization can be achieved, then at least to find a way for the
parties to agree to disagree. Sometimes, the ombudsman acts as a go-between, shuttling ideas,
observations and opinions from the public to the journalists to management and back again. This
approach is designed to allow for more clarity and understanding about the journalistic process with
the public and to let the journalistic culture inside the organization know how their work is being
perceived. This is especially important in these times when the nature of the journalistic process can
be highly suspect and the public’s fears of deliberate bias inside a news organization is on the rise. In
an ideal world, this approach has a two-fold outcome: first it creates an atmosphere or transparency
and accountability inside the newsroom and second, it gives the public a better understanding of
what constitutes good journalism. It’s not an easy role inside a media organization. But it is essential.

Trust is the essential lubricant that allows citizens to believe that their medium of choice is credible
and reliable, even when they may disagree with the journalism. Trust is the common currency that
media organizations require for their continued credibility
Every media organization may have its own way of proceeding, but in my experience it was critical to
let the public know that as ombudsman, I had the freedom to choose which issues would be deemed
worthy of investigation. That was one important distinction between the ombudsman and corporate
public relations.

An ombudsman’s ongoing relationship with the newsroom is important because s/he will rely on the
continued goodwill of the journalists to ensure that responses to complaints occur in a timely
manner. No An ombudsman’s ongoing relationship with the newsroom is important because s/he
will rely on the continued goodwill of the journalists to ensure that responses to complaints occur in
a timely manner. No one likes to be criticized, (ombudsmen included) least of all in a public way, so
the tone and approach of the ombudsman toward the journalists become essential attributes of the
job.

As all media struggle to sustain themselves in an uncertain political and economic environment, it is
worth noting again why an ombudsman is so essential.

why an ombudsman is a powerful guarantor of the editorial independence for media, and why that
editorial independence is an essential element in the promotion of democracy. In that speech, Ian
listed five elements that are key components in linking ombudsmen, media and democracy

His words are worth repeating here: 1. That free open and accountable media are essential elements
in any real democracy. It goes like this: a government cannot be called genuinely democratic if it
considers itself to be above criticism, and behaves as though that is the case. One of the key
functions of the news media in a democracy is – as someone has put it – to speak truth to power.
But the media should not be above criticism either. This is the question that I keep coming back to –
and this is where the ombudsman comes in: Why should the news media which, almost by
definition, call for others to be accountable for what they do, not be accountable for what they do
themselves? The media should be seen to be practising what they preach. So that point again: Free
open and accountable media are essential elements in a democratic society. 2. That the media
themselves have been or are in process of being democratised. The digital revolution, starting with
the rise of email, has led to the expectation of easy and immediate access to one another. It has
followed on from that that we have come to expect free and easy access to the institutions that
affect and govern our lives – and to expect a response. One of these institutions is the media. The
more confident the media are in the role they play in society the more they will relax in this new
situation of being open and accountable for their own actions. Just as people in democratic societies
have come to expect their complaints, let’s say, about government institutions to be heard and
replied to, so increasingly they have expected the media to reply to complaints about their actions.
3. That the various forms of self-regulation of the news media are increasingly seen as preferable to
regulation by law or government edict. No system of self-regulation will work unless it is
underpinned by genuine commitment and is able to act independently of the hierarchy in the
organisation to which it applies. So that means it requires the strong commitment of the owners,
management and editorial directors – the editors especially The test of this commitment in the case
of those media organisations employing an ombudsman, is when the ombudsman upholds a serious
complaint brought against so to speak his own organisation. A popular argument in favour of self-
regulation is that it avoids the need for, or fends off, government legislation. But it can only do that
if it is seen to be effective. We would probably all describe ourselves as believers in and defenders of
the freedom of the press. But do we believe that that freedom is or should be absolute? Perhaps
what most of us believe in – what I believe in – is not absolute freedom in the modern complicated
global context in which we now work – but qualified freedom. Or to put it another way: freedom
with responsibility. And self-regulation depends upon the way in which we define this for ourselves.
4. That self-regulation is made more, rather than less desirable by the digital revolution that is
transforming all our lives. It is sometimes argued that the development of digital online journalism
open to comment by anyone who cares to post a few words has done away with the need for
ombudsmen. The argument goes like this: the process is self-correcting, especially if it is a live blog
taking account of a rapidly changing situation. It is doing in effect what an oldfashioned newspaper
used to do through successive editions. But it is doing it continuously and with the benefit of input
by others through their postings. This seems to presuppose that the blog is being followed from
beginning to end – and it assumes that the statements in it are reliable by the standards of normal
journalistic inquiry, scrutiny and verification. We know that is not often, and perhaps, not usually the
case. I make just one observation here. It is not unethical to make a mistake. We are all human –
therefore we all make mistakes. But it is unethical if knowing we have made a mistake we do not
correct it. As someone has said: to err is human, to correct is divine. Actually I think I might have said
that myself. 5. And this is a very positive point: That the position of ombudsman is unique in that it is
the only form of self regulation that gives an individual news organisation the opportunity to signal a
new more open relationship with its – let us for convenience sake call them readers – [although it’s a
term that suggests a passive role that is increasingly not the case in our multi-media participatory
universe]. And that I think is the most important point that I want to make – that the presence of an
independent ombudsman in a news organisation indicates a genuine desire for a new relationship
between the journalist and the wider community of which the journalist and the news organisation
are a part.

The current system is discouragingly elitist. A challenging, inexpensive


training program that evaluated students on talent rather than on family
names or bank accounts would be in everyone's best interest, especially
the industry that would be hiring its graduates.

Unfortunately, as long as the industry is itself in financial duress, it's


unlikely that this will materialise. But news organisations should, at the
very least, enliven their newsrooms by considering job candidates with
unconventional resumés and informal training

He was delivering a lecture on ‘Media ethics and police-media relations' organised


here by the Mumbai police.
“Unfortunately, no one else has taken this up [except The Hindu which has a
readers' editor] because you need to look inwards. It is simple and doable, but it is
deliberately being avoided,” he said.
He also said the media should reflect and represent all sections of society,
whereas the Niira Radia tapes proved that it was very elitist.
Paid news
Terming ‘paid news' one of the biggest challenges for the media and the press
today, Mr. Ram lauded the Election Commission for its role during the Bihar
elections this year, when it issued notices against 86 candidates with regard to paid
news. “The paid news problem has shown that it is very difficult to police the
media,” he said. It was a part of the hyper-commercialisation process.
Media-police relations
Talking about media-police relations, he emphasised the need for institutional
safeguards for honest investigation. Citing the example of the Central Bureau of
Investigation's probe in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, he said everyone was
talking about political interference in the probe.
“Were the CBI's hands tied down earlier? Why is it that things have now speeded
up and why was there such a long wait? There will be people who will stand
against the pressure,” he said. It was a wrong system to let individuals stand up
against such pressures. “It is important to have institutional safeguards to protect
the fairness and independence of investigation.”
He lamented the lack of police reforms and called for a sustained media effort
aimed at this. “It is clear that there is very poor implementation of police reforms
by the political players. They give excuses for not enacting legislation on the
matter and not following the court directions. There is not much discussion in the
media about this.”

State power
Another challenge, he said, was protecting journalists from state power and
excesses. “Journalists get beaten up for being in the line of fire. It has happened in
Manipur, Kashmir and many other parts of the country. At such times, we look to
the police to be absolutely impartial. We need more discussion on how to approach
such situations,” he said.
Talking about the ethics the media needed to follow, he said the first and foremost
principle was truth-telling. “The journalist must aim for factuality and verification.
He must provide context, background and reasonable interpretation,” he said.
“The second principle is freedom and independence,” he said. Expressing
satisfaction with the freedom the press enjoyed, he said there was a need for a
liberal broadcast law. “The satellite TV is completely without regulation, and that
is a historical aberration.”
“The third is the principle of justice. From classical liberal to Rawlsian to the
radical and revolutionary, there has been a professional prescription laid down for
justice,” he said.
“Finally, the principle of working for the social good combined with a humane
approach,” he said, describing the incident in which a man set himself on fire at a
public place and a cameraperson shot it, instead of dousing the fire. This led to a
wide debate on the media role in the United States.
Elaborating on the framework for the functioning of the media, he said there were
four important functions: credible information function, critical function,
educational role and agenda-building function.
Mumbai Commissioner of Police Sanjeev Dayal said there must be four basic
principles in journalism: responsibility, accountability, responsiveness and trust.
He said media power had reached its pinnacle today, but it should understand that
an equal amount of responsibility came with this. “In a democracy like ours, the
media has a very difficult role to play. It is an important whistleblower, and has to
its credit several exposes,” he said.

Many senior and retired police officers attended the lecture.

Media accountability initiatives at the organizational level could also be promoted when activities at
the newsroom level are more closely interconnected with activities at the professional level. Such a
network approach to media accountability could result in press councils acknowledging ombudsmen
as the first port of call for media complainants, as recently suggested by the German Ombudsman
Initiative. Thus, press councils would promote the establishment of ombudsmen as an MAI on the
organizational level, and the ombudsmen would reduce the workload of press councils.

In the western countries, major newspapers have a post created for a public representative, known as
Ombudsman, to look after the readers' complaints. He is given wide guarantees of independence, and acts
as the interface between the newspaper and the public. Usually an experienced journalist, an Ombudsman
works outside the managerial and editorial structure of the newspaper and reports either to the Chief Editor
or the publisher directly.

Self criticism preserves credibility of the media and protects it from partisan government
interference. It could be more efficient as a system of regulation as the media understand their own
environment better than government (though they may use that knowledge to further their own
commercial interests rather than the public interest).
Is this a new idea?
Relatively speaking, yes — at least in the United States and Canada. The first
newspaper ombudsman in the U.S. was
appointed in June 1967 in Louisville, Kentucky, to serve readers of The Courier-
Journal and The Louisville Times. The first
Canadian appointment — at The Toronto Star — was in 1972. The concept was in
place much earlier in Japan. The Asahi
Shimbun in Tokyo established a committee in 1922 to receive and investigate
reader complaints. Another mass circulation
Tokyo paper, The Yomiuri Shimbun, set up a staff committee in 1938 to monitor
the paper’s quality. In 1951 this group
became an ombudsman committee which today hears reader complaints about
the paper and which meets daily with editors.
News ombudsmen today are found throughout North and South America, Europe,
and parts of the Middle East and Asia.
Are they always called “ombudsmen?”
No. Some newspapers use titles such as “readers’ representative,” “readers’
advocate,” or “public editor.” Others have an
assistant managing editor or an assistant to a senior editor act as an ombudsman.

Over the past decade, The Hindu has had three Readers’ Editors, all of them
journalists but with different backgrounds and experiences within the profession.
The first, the newspaper’s vastly experienced former chief News Editor, K.
Narayanan, gave shape and meaning to the office, winning the trust of a legion of
readers. The second, S. Viswanathan, a veteran correspondent with considerable
field reporting experience, helped consolidate the office of the news ombudsman,
focussing as much on socio-political and media and society issues as on
professional matters. The third and current RE, A.S. Panneerselvan, a versatile
writer with a multi-media background who has published 177 RE columns so far
without missing a step, has re-energised the office and expanded the RE’s role by
taking on the challenge of looking into the newspaper online in addition to the
printed editions.
In practical terms, the RE oversees the process of publishing corrections and
clarifications on a daily basis; attends sympathetically to readers’ complaints and
concerns that his or her office receives; writes a weekly column on a range of
subjects related to the newspaper’s performance, various aspects of professional
journalism and best practices, the newspaper industry, the media and society,
and ethical issues; and inquires into, and recommends appropriate action on,
specific cases of plagiarism, other ethical transgressions, and inappropriate or
unprofessional journalism that are referred to him or her by the Editor.
The data available at the office of The Hindu’s RE reveal that between March
2006 and February 2016, as many as 70,519 communications (by email,
telephone, regular mail, and fax) were received from readers. During the same
period, 8,236 corrections and clarifications were published in a prominent
demarcated space — the opinion page opposite the main editorial page. This is
important because readers need to know where precisely to go to see the RE in
action, which means visibility is the key (“visible mending” is a term of art in the
RE’s trade). Not all corrections came from readers; many of them were made suo
motu by the RE’s office and, interestingly, the newspaper’s journalists began to
send in corrections before anyone else could point them out. In other words, self-
correction has become an objective process in this newspaper, making it unlikely
that major factual or contextual mistakes would escape public attention.
Ombudsman is important where the Serious issues like the beef ban, the crisis in
Kashmir, dissent in universities, atrocities on Dalits, minorities and journalists - have
been happened in a country where democracy was adopted constitutionally.

Media expansion has led to a shrinking of the public sphere, resulting in the spread of
elitist and socially conservative values. "The true test of a robust democracy is the
independence of its media. Over the past few years our media has become the
mouthpiece of the party in power. Coupled with the fact the corporate owners of media
houses share close links with the government, the Indian media has tragically lost its
voice," In fact, given the current state of how the mainstream media works it will be
difficult to expose tweaked data and opacity in government functioning.
"A new note of muscular nationalism has crept into media discourse. Also conspicuous
is the curbing of dissent and the rise of the surveillance state - developments that bode ill
for the independence of the Indian media,"

self-regulation or media liability is where reporters and editors move jointly towards outlining rules
of behaviour for journalism and thereby confirming that the system is being followed effectively.
Competition has led the media to be more and more focused on gaining popularity than giving
actual news keeping in mind the public interest. The author also opines that the present way of
leaving the regulation to the media itself would create the possibility that it may misuse regulatory
goals to its own business goals. Further it is stated that self-regulation would be workable only if due
measures are taken by media outlets and they remain committed to the processes that are evolved.

The right to freedom of expression has a wide ambit which includes the freedom to hold opinions,
freedom to impart information, the freedom to receive information and even the freedom to dissent
against the democratically elected governments of the day. It is also related to free thinking,
imagination and deliberation which are prerequisites for a human being’s self-realisation. Moreover,
it is a vital right to form a good democratic government where citizens are well informed about
political happenings. From a democratic society’s point of view, the media plays a pertinent role by
providing information which is indispensable for two reasons. Primarily, it ensures that citizens
formulate proper and updated views by analysing the authentic and genuine facts as provided by
media. Secondly, it provides information as a “checking function”8 by guaranteeing that the chosen
government and its representatives act upon electoral promises and achieve the desires of those
who chose them.9 Media thus plays a central role since it is the single means through which public
opinion is engendered.10 The stability of a country is assessed by the way the media report the news
of that country. Thus, it becomes the obligation of the media to circulate only applicable and valid
facts locally and globally.

Media is a universally recognised pillar of democracy that is considered to act itself in maintaining
certain practice of professionalism

Media play an essential task in intensifying awareness in all people about human affairs in a society

The gathering of information by media is done on behalf of its citizens and the public and while
doing so, it has the utmost duty to be attentive against misleading and distorted information.
Therefore, media practitioners should be principled and responsible in news broadcasting. For these
reasons media need to be accountable. he scheme of media accountability also embraces an
assortment of methods that are not openly linked to determining complaints from viewers.25 For
instance in Canada- ethics codes to guide journalistic behaviour are one such means, and numerous
Quebec news institutes have moral codes.26 At the same time it is analysed that the media sector
has become increasingly professional in recent years and impact assessment methodologies became
sophisticated and effective.

Competition has led the media to turn out to be increasingly working solely for public attention and
rating points.

There is a clear need to re-look at accountability systems across media, including print. It is a
shocking revelation that from 2003 to 2016 PCI received more than 7000 complaints while from
1990-2000 it received more than 9000 complaints. Of the complaints received most (average 70%)
complaints are against the press. Roughly 25% are adjudicated upon, and around 60-70% are
dismissed. While many cases keep awaiting their chance as the council takes inordinate amount of
time over its interventions. This also happens because the council is largely Delhi-based. These are
some of the factors that may account for these successes and failures.50 The Indian media in the last
seventy years has transformed rigorously. The transformation can narrowly be classified into two
categories- the positive accomplishments of the media and negative impact the media had created.
Theoretically speaking, leaving the regulation to the media itself would generate the likelihood that
it may subjugate regulatory aims to its own business goals. For instance, cross-media ownership by
big corporate companies has assumed alarming proportions. Early 2013 saw the leak of the Radia
tapes which disclosed the shocking and unholy links between journalists and politicians, lobbyists
and business groups. The Press Council of India through its Chairman addressed this issue; however,
no stringent measures had been taken. That depicts the incapacity of Press Council of India. It
cannot suspend the journalists for the unfair work they do.

The stability of a country is assessed by the way the media report the news of that country.
Accountability and self-regulation are promoted by the media’s public analysis and correction of
mistakes. In this respect, ombudsmen and readers’ editors can increase the transparency and
accountability of media organisations. Determining the degree of independence of a news
ombudsman and its effect on his position is difficult,

In order to promote worldwide uniformity in the role of news ombudsmen, the ethical code (Mission
Statement (http://newsombudsmen.org/about/mission)) of the Organization of News Ombudsmen
(ONO) is recommended as the basis for his operations. It should be noted in this respect that the
uniqueness of each news medium, manifested in medium type and target group, can lead to certain
adjustments and supplements to such a standard code.

The hindhu reader’s editors

R k narayan 2006-2009

S viswanathan 2009-2012

a.s. panneerselvan 2012- present

The task of scrutiny


Readers want to see more investigative reporting on corruption. For many, it seems as though the media has left the task of
financial probity, integrity, and meeting targets to institutions such as the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the
Supreme Court, and various statutory bodies. One of the readers said that the independent media should retain the
responsibility of scrutinising the Union and State governments, primarily because some individuals, despite honourable
exceptions, who wield power in statutory bodies tend to convert their official findings to post-retirement job applications. A
detailed story on the number of officials from statutory bodies who got a post-retirement job would reveal the inherent
limitation of giving the task of scrutiny to only these bodies, said some readers. In fact, a qualitative analysis of their
investigations, findings and recommendations could be a basis for evolving a code for the appointments to crucial watchdog
bodies.

Advertising and marketing aspects:


Indian media and entertainment sector estimated
at Rs 450,000 cr by 2022; 2.8 pct of GDP
The Indian media & entertainment sector is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13.9 per cent, to reach US$ 37.55 billion by
2021 from US$ 19.59 billion in 2016, outshining the global average of 4.2 per cent. The industry provides employment to 3.5-4 million people, including both
direct and indirect employment in CY 2017.

India is one of the highest spending and fastest growing advertising market globally. The country’s expenditure on advertising is expected to grow at 12.1 per
cent to Rs 68,334 crore (US$ 10.59 billion) by the end of 2018.
Market size
Print contributes a significant portion to the total advertising revenue, accounting for
almost 41.2 per cent, whereas TV contributes 38.2 per cent, and digital contributes
11 per cent of the total revenue. Outdoor, Radio and Cinema make up the balance
10 per cent.
Online advertising, which was estimated at Rs 2,900 crore (US$ 435 million) in 2013, could jump threefold to Rs 10,000 crore (US$ 1.5 billion) in five years,
increasing at a compound annual rate of 28 per cent.

The country’s media and entertainment (M&E) sector touched Rs 1.5 trillion ($22.7 billion) in 2017, with a growth of around 13 per cent
over 2016. A study by the consultancy firm EY India said this is expected to cross Rs 2 trillion ($31 billion) by 2020, with a compounded
annual growth (CAGR) of 11.6 per cent.

Died journalists in this year


Freedom of speech rank
Media business
Masking the reality
Thesis of tv studies last sem
Pci code of ethics
Development journalism

Twisting facts
One of the defects is that the media often twist facts. I would like to give an
example.
One day, a leading English newspaper published on its front page a photograph of
Justice Gyan Sudha Misra of the Supreme Court with the caption: “Supreme Court
Judge says that her daughters are liabilities.” This was a distorted and fallacious
item of news, published on the front page.
Supreme Court Judges have to disclose their assets and liabilities. Against the
liabilities column, Justice Misra had written: “two daughters to be married.”
Strictly speaking, it was not necessary to mention this because liabilities mean
legal liabilities, for example, housing loan, car loan, and so on. Justice Misra's
intention was obviously to say that she would have to spend on her daughters'
future marriage. She has three daughters (no son), only one of whom has been
married. Justice Misra never said, nor intended to say, that her daughters were
liabilities. The news was false and defamatory, with the obvious intention of
creating a sensation.
Paid news
A second defect concerns the issue of paid news that has become prominent of late.
In the 2009 elections, it was a scandal. How this vicious practice could be stopped
needs to be discussed. Incidentally, in compliance with an order of the Chief
Information Commissioner dated September 19, 2011, we have placed the 71-page
report of the Committee consisting of Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and Sreenivas
Reddy on our website, www.presscouncil.nic.in with the disclaimer that the Press
Council had rejected this report at its meeting held on April 26, 2010.
Non-issues as real issues
A third defect is that the media often portray non-issues as real issues, while the
real issues are sidelined. The real issues in India are economic, that is, the terrible
economic conditions in which 80 per cent of our people are living, the poverty,
unemployment, lack of housing and medical care and so on. Instead of addressing
these real issues, the media often try to divert the attention of people to non-issues.
Such as that the wife of a film actor has become pregnant, whether she will give
birth to a single child or to twins, and so on. Are these the real issues facing the
nation?
At a Lakme India Fashion Week event, there were 512 accredited journalists
covering the event in which models were displaying cotton garments, while the
men and women who grew that cotton were killing themselves at a distance of an
hour's flight from Nagpur, in the Vidharbha region. Nobody told that story, except
one or two journalists, locally.
Is this a responsible way for the Indian media to function? Should the media turn a
Nelson's eye to the harsh economic realities facing over 75 per cent of our people,
and concentrate on some ‘Potemkin villages' where all is glamour and show biz?
Are not the Indian media behaving much like Queen Marie Antoinette, who said
that if the people had no bread, they should eat cake?
No doubt, sometimes the media mention farmers' suicides, the rise in the price of
essential commodities, and so on, but such coverage is at most 5 per cent to 10 per
cent of the total. The bulk of the coverage goes to showing the life of film stars,
pop music, fashion parades, cricket and astrology.
Recommendations Ideally, the ombudsman is a journalist or media expert assessing the journalistic
product on a full-time basis, as a house critic, rather than operating as a PR officer in order to try and
earn the commitment of the public. In order to remove the existing skepticism in society, a news
ombudsman needs to be able to operate fully independently. He has no connections with the editors
and does not participate in editorial consultations. He tests the journalistic products against
prevailing ethical standards and shares his analyses and unfettered judgement with the public.
When journalistic processes and products are tested against ethical standards, these standards must
be open and accessible to the public, for example, through the media’s web site. The ombudsman
must specify such standards in his publications. The ombudsman’s own methods must also be
transparent; his statute must be public. Another essential requirement is that the ombudsman or
readers’ editor must be easy to reach and approach. The newspaper or broadcasting company must
publish his e-mail address, telephone number and office hours in a clearly visible manner in the
colophon and/or on its home page. In order to promote worldwide uniformity in the role of news
ombudsmen, the ethical code (Mission Statement (http://newsombudsmen.org/about/mission)) of
the Organization of News Ombudsmen (ONO) is recommended as the basis for his operations. It
should be noted in this respect that the uniqueness of each news medium, manifested in medium
type and target group, can lead to certain adjustments and supplements to such a standard code.
Should an ombudsman preferably be some one from the editorial ranks? Or is an external
ombudsman given preference? Some one who used to be a (general) editor has the advantage of
being familiar with the editorial culture. An outsider can adopt a fully independent position,
especially when appointed for a limited period of time. That is why a structure involving an editor-in-
chief publishing a letter or responding to questions once a week is not ideal. Although his
recommendations carry more weight in terms of policy than those of an ombudsman or readers’
editor, there is no independent and critical review. Especially this independence is essential. In
addition, the candidate must be someone who is well acquainted with journalistic practices and the
prevailing customs and standards. Someone who enjoys the confidence of the editors and the
general editors. In order to be credible in the eyes of the readers or viewers, he will need to adopt a
critical attitude towards the editors. This implies that he will continually test the journalistic
processes and products against the journalistic and ethical principles and standards of the medium
concerned. The position of a news ombudsman is still delicate, particularly among fellow journalists
at the ombudsman’s own medium, who feel uncomfortable with a professional critic (“the copy
police”) of their product. Full independence of a news ombudsman can aid in internal acceptance.
The public needs to have low-threshold access to some one who takes their comments and
complaints seriously and who challenges the editors to give chapter and verse. This will contribute
greatly to the transparency of journalism and selfregulation in the media sector.