Friday, March 6, 2009

Media Ombudsman

Recently there has been a lot of discussion on setting up a media ombudsman in Karnataka especially after the deliberate false reporting done by the english language media. While people were being killed by Religious and communist extremists in India, the media was more concerned with some goons attacking some women who were drunk in a pub. The media then hyped it to make it into a "national outrage" but didn't feel that the news about tortue and killing of policemen by the Naxals and the killing of government ministers by the christian terrorists in manipur (1, 2- The NSCN(IM) is a religious terrorist organization which is fighting to create "Nagaland for Christ) should also be highlighted making them occasions for national outrage as well. The threat from naxals and religious extremists is reaching scary proportions but the Media appears to be deliberately ignoring it and making it seem as if the Indian public have more important things to worry about - such as their right to drink in a bar! Unless people realize the grave threat looming over India it will soon be too late to do anything. (Future posts will give more details on the communist threat that India faces). The media has to take responsibility to show to the public the truth and thus make the public sensitive to issues which are important for their survival.

Worse still the media has started playing judge, jury and executioner without any accountability. This was amply seen in the coverage of the Aarushi murder case. Even recently, the kidnapping of the daughter of a Communist MLA from Kerala was made out to be conducted by the hindu outfit while actually it was done by the communist cadres themselves who claimed to be "protecting the modesty" of the girl. Even when the truth came out the media did not bother to apologise for their mistake. This complete lack of responsibility and accountability seems to make it necessary for the public themselves to demand for an ombudsman for the media.

When the government suggested the possible need for an ombudsman so that aggreived people can take the irresponsible newspapers to task, the press went to town shouting that there was no need to create an ombudsman and that the government was trying to be fascist (a swear word lossely thrown around in Indian media and political circles to scare anyone who tries to do what is right). While they claimed that there already exists an entity which regulates the media -the Press Council of India (PCI), the brilliant article below shows how the PCI is nothing but a toothless tiger that only proves to be a convinient shield for the biased media.

More reading on the topic,

"A desultory study of the Indian newspapers will reveal that they leave a lot to be desired. Look at the Delhi edition of The Times of India--famous for its promotion of page 3 culture--, you will realise that the idea of an Ombudsman (nay, a nanny) is not a bad one after all. Many readers complain that Indian newspapers have lost their sense of social responsibility, and have become just another commercial product, like toothpaste. On any day, open a newspaper and look for errors, and you won't be disappointed. But one area where the newspapers are most at fault is the unacceptable ratio of ads to news content they publish. Sometimes readers wonder whether they are reading ad brochures or newspapers. It is time to tell them enough is enough. Through Ombudsman. "

"You may recall that in the case of Pub attack, first arrest was made by Mangalore police within 10 minutes, subsequently many were arrested, including Ram Sena leaders. Ram Sena is in no way connected to BJP, in fact they had fielded their candidates against BJP canditates in the last election. The release of these leaders is as per the decision of the judiciary. However the investigations were hampered, due to "no complaint" by the victims of the attack!...Similarly, in the case of "abduction" of MLA`s daughter, 5 persons - CPIM activists were arrested, produced in the court as per the laws. However, to coverup a family issue, Manjeswar MLA Kunjambu made media statements blaming the Home Minister of Karnataka making irresponsible statements!- such statements were never made by Dr V S Acharya"

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