Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty has urged mediapersons to take a firm stand on ethical aspects to address issues of media credibility.

In a video message played at the inaugural session of a two-day seminar on ‘Media ethics and practice’ at Besant Women’s College here on Thursday, Mr. Pookutty said journalists were being put in a situation where they were asked to do things which they otherwise would not do. Referring to the electronic media, Mr. Pookutty said the demand for “exclusive footage” was driving journalists into doing such things.

He said news was being seen more as a commodity and as media was now a part of business, its credibility had dented.

Oscar and media frenzy

Commending the media for the big role it played in society, he said it brought him and his craft into limelight after he won the Oscar.

Mr. Pookutty also spoke about the media frenzy he and his family faced. He said mediapersons were all over his house when he and his wife left Mumbai to receive the Oscar, living behind their two children. They had started reporting from the kitchen, living room and so on. He said his sister had to ask them to leave. When he came back, there was a stampede-like situation at the airport thanks to a battery of mediapersons present there, he said. The police escorted him in a vehicle and took him to a police station where he was made to sit for 45 minutes, he said. After all this, when he reached home at 3 a.m., he had to ask a group of mediapersons waiting for him to leave, he said. However, a journalist was hiding behind the staircase as she wanted an “exclusive interview” for her channel, to which he obliged.

When he met the journalist later, she told him that the owner of the mediahouse for which she worked had ensured that those interested in the interview (telecasting it in their channel) bought the footage from him.

Paid news

Writer and columnist Shreekumar Varma criticised the menace of paid news. Newspapers which depend on advertisements for survival had let financiers dictate terms to them, he said. He observed that the media could be fair without being dull and people would accept such journalism.

P.P. Gomathi, secretary of Women’s National Education Society which runs the college, said all sections of society, including news consumers, should ensure that media regulated itself. The country could not do with the Fourth Estate ailing, she added.

Kudpi Jagadish Shenoy, president of the society, G.P. Shivaram, professor, Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, Mangalore University, which co-hosted the seminar, and college principal Manjula K.T. spoke.