Balanced reporting and presentation of news in a manner that would improve the lives of the people in general and consumers of news in particular are needed today, speakers at the inaugural of a two-day seminar said here on Wednesday
The seminar ‘Regulating the Media?' was organised by Young Journalists Association, School of Media Studies and School of Government and International Affairs of SRM University, in association with the United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF), The Hindu and the Indo-Japan Chamber of Commerce.
In her theme address, Srividya Raghavan, Professor of Law, Oklahoma, U.S., said a majority of news organisations, especially television and radio channels were controlled by giant companies in the U.S. Sadly, the trend of consolidation of unregulated media was happening in India too, she observed.
The challenge before the media was two-fold — finding out what the readers' expectations were and how these expectations could be met, experts said. In a hurry to meet such expectations, the media began “pandering to the masses.” Naming a couple of newspapers, she said she was appalled to find highly objectionable news reports and photos in their sports section.
Ms. Raghavan further added that politicians and their political parties started television channels and in such media houses, objective reporting would be a casualty.
Nirmala Lakshman, Director, Kasturi and Sons, said the media had to introspect on its role as a good news operator in the society. “The media plays a vital role as a tool of empowerment for the citizen to pursue a better quality of life,” Dr. Lakshman said. She regretted that issues like paid news and private treaties with companies for equity stakes had brought down credibility to an all-time low.
In her address, Jennnifer McIntyre, Consul General for the U.S. in Chennai, said press freedom was an idea common to both India and United States. Speaking on the occasion, Ravi Panchamoothoo, Chairman of SRM Group of Educational Institutions, said, media should give more space for positive news over negative content. Coming down heavily on sensationalism, he said it should not be the top priority and media houses should think seriously about reducing bad content.

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