I wish to thank The Hindu for publishing the article “The medium, message and the money” (Oct. 26). I never imagined that some sections of the media, the fourth pillar of democracy, could do something as dangerous — lethal enough to weaken our democracy — as selling media coverage during elections. The bigger question is: how to stop the dangerous liaison between the media and politicians or, at least, reduce it to a minimum? By using the same weapon that the media deploy — disseminating information and creating awareness.
Civil society should initiate a debate on the issue and involve the common man in it. When people learn more about media bias and the media houses which are engaged in unethical practices, they will start avoiding them.
Ajay Kumar Mishra,
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The article exposed the unethical journalistic practices in some media organisations. That many of them actually sold news coverage by packaging them during the recently concluded Assembly elections is shocking. The media constitute a pillar of democracy and have become very powerful over the last decade. They should not mislead people by showcasing politicians who pay for coverage as true leaders. While publishing or broadcasting a report, they should bear in mind their importance and their long-term impact on the people’s mandate.
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The role of money in the largest democracy has been aptly brought out by the author. Our nation is already hanging its head in shame due to corruption in all walks of life. We will have no redemption whatsoever if the fourth estate too succumbs to the lure of money. The need of the hour is to pursue all cases of corruption against the high and mighty to their logical conclusion, and send the message that all are equal in the eyes of law.
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Many candidates see elections as an investment that has the potential to generate huge returns once they win. This forces them to exploit every loophole in the system. Though politicians influencing rural voters by offering them money is a common practice, I always believed that educated people were left untouched. It is disturbing to note that they too can be manipulated by the media through coverage packages.
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Newspapers and television news channels influence people a great deal. Prejudiced reporting will only lead to prejudiced minds. The media should take their responsibilities seriously. They must not take sides. They should help in inculcating a healthy, positive attitude.