P. Sainath's article “Advertising, Bollywood, Corporate power” (Feb. 18) is a sharp, sensitive, disturbing portrayal of how the Indian media are misusing their position and power today. Aldous Huxley stated some half-a-century ago that “Jeffersonian concepts of democracy may not be valid in future. For, Thomas Jefferson and his colleagues could not have conceived of the immense power of the mass media, which would be concerned in the main with neither beauty nor ugliness, neither truth nor falsehood, but with the ephemeral, the more or less totally irrelevant.”
S. Krishnaswamy, Chennai
If the fourth estate has lost its exalted position, it is because of a paradigm shift in the priorities of reporting, driven by corporate interests. Both the print and the visual media are giving a go-by to journalistic ethics and all that matters is sensationalism.
Most of the reports are on political issues, followed by entertainment and sports sponsored by big corporates. Some of the reports are meant to satisfy the personal agenda of VIPs. A very small section is devoted to significant achievements in different sectors. Sensationalism is the order of the day and even the most ordinary incidents are blown out of proportion.
V. Rajagopal, Tirupati
The fourth estate has consistently ignored the grave issues facing the nation, concentrating only on news that increases readership and viewership. Rahul Gandhi's visit to Mumbai was portrayed as a “Rahul-versus-Shiv Sena” saga. The Congress leader's interaction with students was hardly mentioned. It was perhaps too “boring.”
Suyog Manwatkar, Pune
From the television news channels and other media, we come to know more about Hollywood stars and their luxurious spending than about the decline in agriculture, migration of labour and growing poverty among the rural masses After Bollywood, cricket is the most important item on the media agenda. In cricket too, they boost the image of only a few players. The media, including the government-owned sections, do not care about mundane things like poverty and unemployment.
There was a time when the media acted as a watchdog of democracy. Today, true journalism has become a rarity. The media have a significant role in formulating public opinion. But they ignore people's issues such as poverty, corruption, and raging communalism. Customised and profit-oriented journalism have come to replace spirited journalism.