Session 5 : Electronic and Digital Media : Self – Regulation
10.00 - 11.30
Shri Rajesh Badal – The speaker started by profusely thanking revered Prof Dr Vishwanath Karad and Shri Rahul Karad for inviting him as well as creating the World Peace Dome. The speaker then spoke of how self-regulation can come from the hundred year old ‘Satyagrah’ Concept pioneered by M K Gandhi. The power and influence of the press has always been well known, and self-regulation within journalism is almost as old as journalism itself. Though the requirement for it is enhanced due to the advent of digital journalism, it still is an old problem within media. Regulation cannot come from a body outside the media, such as the government, due to censorship and control that will invariably follow. Thus the journalistic community itself must come up with rules to regulate itself.
Shri Satish K Singh – The speaker spoke of how the problem of unregulated journalism is causing increasing disruption in the world. With the proliferation of technology everyone is a reporter and there is very little process followed while reporting news, which is most likely rumour due to its unsubstantiated nature. He then spoke of the various regulatory models followed by the US, UK, Russia, etc. He stresses that each of these models has their own speciality and their own method of regulation. The law of the land should be considered and the way forward is self-regulations itself.
Shri Amit Mandloi – The speaker spoke brilliantly about how the digital age and the ease of internet connectivity have eroded the social fibre of news reporting. He quoted pertinent examples about how the consuming of data and the commercialization of media houses ensures that the only thing that matters is the bottom line. Self-regulation is also extremely difficult to implement due to the human tendency to not bear any negative news against oneself. Thus, the improvement within journalisms resides on the people, because it is exactly what they want and wish to hear that will influence how media houses will behave.
Shri Samrat Phadnis – The speaker started by explaining how digital media has changed the very format of journalism and reporting. In order to self-regulate, we need to first understand the medium to be regulated. The digital medium is relatively new and it will take many years before this medium is understood in detail sufficient enough for people to foment guidelines over. If regulations are implemented today, then all they will do is destroy creativity and objectivity.
Shri Subhash Shirke – The speaker starts by stating that he believes there is enough regulation within digital media to begin with. But he clarifies that this is not positive or just regulation. The freedom of the Press has consistently decreased, even in regions such as North America and Europe, due to the advent of the digital age. This is because the media is regulated by TRP’s, trolls and politicians. With such regulations in place, no wonder that the quality of reporting is drastically reducing along with the erosion of the freedom of the press.
Shri Manohar Bhoyar – The speaker is most concerned about fake news and news which is presented with an altered narrative based on a few factual consistencies. This trend must be reversed since it is not only feeding the need for gossip and rumour in people, but is also ensuring that people are moving away from true news towards sensationalism. Whatsapp and YouTube are [primarily responsible for this fake news, and this requires stringent self-regulations. The speaker says that the regulation guidelines available from print journalism, apply for all journalism platforms save digital. He is deeply concerned about the impact of fake news on rural communities where the very concept of fake news itself is yet not understood, giving rise to an entire cadre of dishonest politicians and businessmen who are capitalising on rural innocence to forward their own agendas.
Dr Sailesh Gujjar – The speaker spoke of how he started his own media house and that is still running and successful. He further states that the only guarantee of a free press is a fully implemented democracy. Everything else is circumspect and does not really influence media houses or its self-regulatory principles.
Shri Rajesh Kasera – The speaker was quite adamant that the digital age is facilitating an increase in the number of fake news cases while paid news can be positive as well as negative. Paid news has one undeniable plus point, which is accountability due to payment made. However, this is a very tiny positive in a sea of great negative. Paid news is a worse issue due to it subversive nature and a lack of ideating.
Shri Prakash Dubey – The speaker was very troubled about both, fake news and paid news. But of the two, the speaker is most gravely troubled by paid news. The speaker fervently believes that paid news goes against the very fibre of journalism. He quoted numerous examples where the rules were not only ignored, but blatantly broken for the sake of paid news. Paid news must be dealt with severely and harshly, but the speaker does not know how that will be implemented save leaving the implementation to the youth of the country.
Shri S M Asif – The speaker started by stating that since his is an Urdu paper, he does not have much fake or paid news to dabble in as he has a very limited viewership to begin with and any paid or fake news might just jeopardise this tiny viewership even further. He states that the only way to combat paid news is to set an example to the youth that paid news is detrimental to both, the media house as well as its patrons, in the long run. He beseeches the youth to take this seriously, especially those who are vested in media and journalism.
Shri Dayanand Kamble – The speaker mentioned that fake news has been around ever since the print media has been around, and he quoted his own examples from his youth. He then went on to expound on the evils of paid news against which he firmly believes that the government should institute a regulatory body. He spoke at length about the business of fake news and how it means big business. Paid news remained a bigger evil for the repercussions that it can engineer.
Shri Shayaan Shaikh – The speaker began by analysing and breaking down what makes a particular video or byte successful and the surprising, yet true, conclusion was that it is usually the demand or want of the people. Thus, if the people wish to have quality news which is not fake or paid, then there will be no fake or paid news as there will be no market for it. Thus the end of fake and paid news resides with the people and its regulation by a government body or even by itself will just complicate the issue without giving firm results.
Shri Shridhar Loni – The speaker likened fake news to fake democracy. He stated, in brief, the history of print journalism and what the ideals of a paper used to be almost 70 years ago. Then he remarked that this trend of fake news must be reversed and paid news does not even deserve a place within journalism as it goes against its basic tenets. He proposed that the next generation who are going to take over the mantle of journalisms must answer this questions themselves.
Shrimati Karishma Kotwal – The speaker elaborated on numerous examples where fake news was easily spread due to its sensational content. She stated that there were more than 70,000 newspapers operating within India with a combined readership of 100 million people. With almost 700 channels and over 80 dedicated news channels, it is remarkably easy to disseminate information due to its reduced cost. The easiest way to defeat fake news is to fact check and to inform others on how to fact check. Once the fake news model becomes unprofitable, then fake news itself will be a forgotten chapter.
Shri Ashok Bagariya – Being a member of the legal fraternity, the speaker had a different take on the issue of fake news and paid news. He stated that the Indian legal system is woefully inadequate to deal with the new problem of fake and paid news. He further proposes that companies which publish data and its inferences are asking to news channels and media houses because, they too are engaging in the spread of news, fake or otherwise. The demand for this must be reduced.
Session 7 : Challenges of Media Owners and road ahead
14.00 - 15.30
Chetan Sharma – The speaker effectively broke down the press industry as ‘a’ which is advertising, ‘b’ which is benchmarking, ‘c’ which is the centre aka the government, ‘d’ stands for distribution, ‘e’ is employee and ‘f’ stands for free. Among these factors advertisement is essential due to the high cost of printings and the low returns media houses get. Thus advertisement starts to increasingly dictate the press. High distribution costs are also a problem within the media.
Shri Neeraj Sanan – The speaker stated that there were 3 challenges to press and media owners and they are ego, politics and technology. For the first one, the speaker states that there is always strife between the content creators, anchors and reporters, and the content distributers, producers, etc. Politicians wield a huge influence due to then huge government control within advertising channels and distribution channels. Moreover, politicians have a stake in media houses. Technology is assuring that the old methods of news dissemination are becoming increasingly redundant and everyone with content can become its distributer as well due to the reach of technology in this digital age.
Shri Anand Shyam Agarwal – The speaker spoke of the challenges faces by the press industry, namely that since the newspapers as a lower cost price than their production price, they are necessarily heavily subsidised by advertisements. But advertisers are increasingly moving away from print media because they cannot keep up with the increasing cost and they find many better channels online. But he proposes the 3P’s which are essential to this business namely, passion, paisa and patience. Exercising all these together and lowering the dependence on advertisement are the challenges to be overcome.
Shri Chandran Iyer – The speaker chose the example of the company Kodak, which was once one of the largest companies in the world, but is now bankrupt due to the coming of the digital age. Kodak failed as it did not evolve, being the point the speaker wishes to convey. Similarly the print media must evolve in the face of the digital age we find ourselves in.
Shri S N Vinod – The speaker squarely places the blame on media houses today because they are no longer true to their profession, but have, in fact, become simply a commercial exercise. He spoke of how the ideals of great news publishers such as Mr Ramnath Goenka and the Indian Express Group he created. He spoke of how the print media was instrumental in halting the Emergency in our country and how journalists were looked upon as noble individuals. He states that the challenge in the industry today is how to reclaim that image and simply not be about the bottom line anymore.
Session 8 : Media Laws & Security of Media Persons: A Formality or Reality
15.45 - 17.15
This was a panel discussion introduced by Shri R N Bhaskar and included Shri Rahul Mahajan, Shri Bhupesh Kohli and Shri Manish Awasthi within the panel. The discussion touched on the paucity of security for media personnel in a country like India and the growing need to protect the media people, not only from aggrieved parties but also from their own governments. The panel touched upon the numerous instances of policing of media personnel along with a few famous cases where the guilty party, despite being well known, got away. The panel concluded that since the media acts as a mirror as well as a watchdog to the populace and government it is reasonable to assume that they will always be requiring security, though it may not always be provided for them.