P. Sainath’s article “It is shameful to misguide people” (Dec. 24) was yet another exposure of the betrayal of trust by a few unethical sections of the media. That advertisements and pieces exaggerating the achievements of this or that politician are camouflaged as genuine news reports — like perfectly printed fake currency — appear regularly in newspapers is not a healthy reflection on our much-touted democracy.
When the exercise of franchise is tampered with by the immoral and undemocratic conduct of the candidates, what is left to celebrate? Such corrupt practices in election-related activities eat into the vitals of democracy.
The Editors Guild has lived up to its responsibility by denouncing the practice of paid news as exposed by The Hindu. It is encouraging to hear that it plans to work towards eradicating the menace by sensitising all concerned.
The shameful misguidance of people by some sections of the media should not be allowed to demolish the foundations of our democracy.
Mr. Sainath’s article is revealing, but what is so new? This is how politics has been conducted over decades and everybody knows it. In fact, it is one of the main reasons for the absolute lack of interest in politics among the intelligentsia and a majority of the young.
It is not politicians alone who manipulate the media for their benefits. Powerful industrialists, educational institutions owned by the rich, the hospital industry — many more play the game. The aam aadmi has got accustomed to it and cares a fig for it.
All he knows is that he has to struggle day and night to earn his daily bread and leave everything else to the rich few.
The article only reinforces how deep the rot has crept into our political system. Just as Bollywood stars promote the movies in which they act, political executives of the world’s largest democracy promote themselves through the media. It’s a new low in Indian politics. Indeed, something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
It is certainly unethical on the part of the media to masquerade advertisements as news stories and on the part of candidates to understate their poll-related expenditure. But the public cannot be fooled or misguided so easily.
In our country, people are loyal to some newspapers and if they notice biased reporting, they switch to others. Newspapers serving as mouthpieces of political parties are, of course, exceptions.
P. Guru Prasad,
The recent elections in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra proved how the media, the so-called watchdog of society, indulged in the unethical practice of publishing news paid for.
Worse, they victimised candidates who refused to pay for coverage with negative publicity.