While hailing P. Sainath for his effort to fight the menace of paid news, I draw the attention of readers to the concluding paragraph of the article “The Empire strikes back — and how!” (Aug. 5). I do hope the publications and television news channels that were not part of the paid news racket will respond positively. I also hope journalists and others committed to the cause of eliminating paid news will explore the possibility of using Parliament to this end.
It is indeed disheartening to see the media, which play a crucial role in a democracy, stand discredited. The disclosure that the Press Council of India has sidelined its own sub-committee's report which named the perpetrators of paid news is a setback to not only the media but also the world's second fastest growing economy. At a time when the media are seeking the names of those responsible for the CWG scam, their own act of hiding the names of those who tried to abuse the institution is ironical.
Media houses are responsible for giving accurate and unbiased news. When paid information is published as news content, it misleads the public. Paid news should be seen as trade with an unlawful purpose as it has nothing to do with the freedom of speech. If the government has the requisite will to find a solution, it is surely possible.
Yateesh P. Nadendla,
Despite the furore raised over paid news, the PCI has done precious little to stem the rot. The incalculable harm done to democracy by paid news cannot be wished away. The Council should take such proactive measures as are necessary to prevent this practice from recurring.