Paid news has become a bane in the media, and the Election Commission should look into this aspect of paid news, the Minister of State for Human Resources Development, D. Purandeswari, said on Saturday.

“During parliamentary elections, nobody wrote what I had contributed or where I was campaigning, as I had to pay for the news. During the entire 15 days campaigning, newspapers wrote about me only once that too after a friend agreed to whatever they (media houses) wanted,” she lamented while speaking after inaugurating a seminar on “Changing trends in news presentation in media”.

The seminar had been jointly organised by Sri Veerendra Patil Degree College, Karnataka State Journalism and Communication Teachers' Association and the Forum for Social Change, and NMKRV College for Women.

“Journalists such as P. Sainath and N. Ram of The Hindu have raised the issue of paid news,” she said and added that media had become a commodity at a time when everyone looked at profit making.

She said that there was a need to look after the interests of a large majority of the population living in rural areas also.

She pointed out that media played a vital role in providing justice to the families of Jessica Lal and Mathoo or when it prevented the dilution of the Right to Information Act by the policy makers.

Ms. Purandeswari stressed on “the power of the media to be converted into the larger public good” and said that the proliferation of many newspapers had led to a decline in professionalism and had “diluted” the quality of journalists, in general.

The former Speaker of Legislative Assembly Ramesh Kumar, Bangalore University Vice-Chancellor N. Prabhu Dev and a host of journalism teachers from many universities were present.

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