Senior journalist Amit Sengupta speaking on 'Media ethics and liberalisation: Is it a dead end? Niira Radia tapes: Media ethics on the crossroads' at Panjab University on December 14, 2010.
Public Meeting on Niira Radia tapes and media ethics

'Information dissemination cannot be stopped'

Chandigarh: "Information dissemination cannot be stopped," said senior journalist Amit Sengupta. He was here on Tuesday to speak at a public meeting on 'Media ethics and liberalisation: Is it a dead end? Niira Radia tapes: Media ethics on the crossroads' at Panjab University, which was organised by Critique-a discussion forum of university students on December 14, 2010.

He said, "Mediocrity has seeped into media. Celebrity, infotainment and advertorial journalism and paid news reflects the corporatisation of the media. You have Amitabh Bachchan reading news in one channel yesterday, and you have Bunty and Bubli reading news on another channel day before yesterday."

The priorities of the media, he said, have changed, which was evident from the coverage of recent Commonwealth Games. There were thousands of people who were removed from the streets of Delhi, hawkers were removed, but most of the media kept mum about the displaced people.

Talking about the leadership crisis in media he said, "It (leadership crisis) is evident when Taj was attacked. Most television channels went overboard with no sense of balance or restrain, while some newspaper editors were too proud to announce how they spent there days and nights once upon a time in the lovely comforts of the Taj. "

"These journalists are politically and geographically dislocated from the realism of life," he said. "The old fashioned values and ethics of principled journalism has seen a paradigm shift."

He said that it is total sham when media houses say that people don't want to listen, watch or read good stuff. TV channels and newspapers underestimate the intelligence and sensitivity of their readers and viewers. It is the same audience which It made Malgudi Days a hit; they watched Discovery of India, Tamas, Buniyad, high quality programming; if you give them a choice they will read Premchand and watch movies of Satyajit Ray.

But now they are not left with any option but are being served a relentless flow of mediocre stuff.

He said, though in recent time media is going through tough times, but the picture is not that bleak. "Most of young journalists are honest," he said, adding that Open and Outlook are testimony to that honesty and heterogeneity in the media.

He said, "Journalists are sucking up to lobbyists and corporate fixers. In the process they are themselves comprising their professional ethics," Sengupta said. "This is reflective of a festering wound which is becoming an epidemic in the media."

'When Media Becomes The Message, Niira Radia tapes: Ethics on the Line', a book published by Journalists for Society was also released. The book comprises collection of articles on the role of media in the 2G scam.