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Avoid sensationalism, Ansari tells the media

Vice-President Hamid Ansari. File photo

Vice-President Hamid Ansari. File photo  

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Vice President M. Hamid Ansari has called upon newspaper editors to sustain the reputation of dependability for authentic news and sober analysis that was “not tainted by sensationalism so often displayed by the electronic media.”

Inaugurating the two-day World Urdu Editors Conference organised by the popular Urdu daily Siasat here on Friday, Mr. Ansari asked the editors to develop methodologies for retaining the demarcation between journalism, public relations, advertising and entertainment. Of late, this demarcation had been eroded owing to availability of new media devices and commercial considerations, he said.

Code of ethics

“Each of these impacts on the role of the editor and the code of ethics observed hitherto.” Quoting American journalist Walter Lippmann, Mr. Ansari said mediapersons should avoid being “captured and captivated by the company they keep, their constant exposure to power.”

Some of the problems in the Urdu print media were related to readership and their areas of interest, he said. Despite overall increase in population, the percentage of Urdu speakers to total population had registered a noticeable decline. It was indeed a challenging situation and editors of Urdu newspapers needed to attract young readers by focussing on areas of interest to them.

Other problems include resources, advertisements, news gathering methodology and adaptation of new technology.

“Each of these is related to size and demands of readership. A good newspaper, however, should cater both to public demand and to the need to shape this demand. Only then would it be in a position of opinion maker. News coverage needs to move away from the purely sectional interest to what would satisfy a wider audience.” Mr. Ansari released Allama Aijaz Farruq's book, Hyderabad Shehr-e-Nigaran.

Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan wanted the consortium proposed by Siasat editor Zahid Ali Khan, to evolve a code of conduct and ensure that the media's focus was on societal problems. “You can criticise government whenever it fails in its duty but do not sensationalise, and write on the good things it has been doing.” Civil Supplies Minister D. Sridhar Babu attended the function.

Mohammed Shaam, Chief Editor of ARY Digital Network of Pakistan had a word of praise for the way India was allocating funds for promotion of Urdu and wanted Urdu media to keep pace with technological changes.

Mr. Khan said Siasat was not confining itself to news coverage but reaching out to the readers in need. Urdu media should focus on social evils like dowry and extravagant spending on wedding functions.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 5:51:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/avoid-sensationalism-ansari-tells-the-media/article2761495.ece

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