Under attack, media favours self-regulation

December 12th, 2008 - 11:21 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 12 (IANS) The media may have begun introspection after stern advisories and criticism over its coverage of the Mumbai terror attacks, but the debate at a panel discussion seemed to be stuck on that single question - where to draw the line.At the panel discussion Thursday on the role of media in the wake of Mumbai attacks, the speakers, including top editors, emphasised the need for a self-regulated code of conduct for the news channels and the press to follow.

Facing a barrage of questions and criticism over “jingoism, hysteria and race for more vieweship/rating”, the media persons deliberated upon each issue.

“In aftermath of Mumbai terror attack, the media has been drawing flak from common people and this is a very dangerous trend. The public support is our power and we need to follow certain restraints,” said Vinod Mehta, editor-in-chief of Outlook magazine.

The editors blamed the government for not providing a proper channel of information about the Mumbai attacks.

“There was no outflow of information from any government authority and everything being aired or told was from our sources,” said Rajdeep Sardesai, editor-in-chief of CNN-IBN.

“I have no objection if the government wants to keep the media out from any such information but give us information of things happening,” he said.

Sardesai also stressed the need to have a code of conduct but with a guarantee that everyone sticks to it.

“In our news organisation, we should have senior editors as filters who need to take a call on what has to be aired,” Sardesai added.

Noted film director Mahesh Bhatt said that media has lost objectivity and is involved in jingoism.

“During the Mumbai terror attacks I put on the TV to get a prespective of the whole issue rather than listening to what we are showing is something exclusive. I think rather than giving some perspective to the whole problem, media became a part of problem,” Bhatt said.

However, some of the speakers felt that media played a positive role in pressurising the government to act against terrorism.

“The outpouring of enthusiasm from the politicians to act against terrorism that we are seeing today is an unintended consequence of media’s Mumbai terror coverage,” said Dipankar Gupta, a prominent sociologist.

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