Speaker M.B. Rajesh has called for ‘auditing’ the mainstream media for political correctness to address growing concerns of various outlets engaging in slander campaigns.
Inaugurating a media seminar on ‘Changing Times, Changing Media’ organised by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) in connection with its 58th State conference here on Thursday, Mr. Rajesh lamented the use of cartoons as a medium to defame public figures.
“Very often, the media rightly hold us (politicians) responsible for being politically incorrect. However, no effort is being made to rein in such tendencies that have cropped up within the media industry. Shockingly, cartoons have been come to be used to convey racist, communal, sexist and prejudiced views. Prime-time television debates, which have been reduced to mere shows that yearn for ratings, have also failed to uphold objectivity. It is high time the media fraternity introspected such practices and corrected themselves,” he said.
He also accused the media of “commodifying news” in a manner that showed scant regard for truth. Besides being confined by the business interests of the industry, journalists are hindered by fear of the repercussions of speaking the truth. “It is not surprising that India has fallen to the 150th position (from 142 last year) in the World Press Freedom Index,” Mr. Rajesh pointed out.
The Speaker also faulted Malayalam news channels for ignoring national issues, trivialising critical events and sensationalising insignificant matters.
Senior journalist Jacob George was the moderator for the discussion. KUWJ State president K.P. Reji, senior journalists Sunnykutty Abraham, Hari S. Kartha and State conference organising committee general convener Suresh Vellimangalam, cultural sub-committee convener R. Jayaprasad and district secretary Anupama G. Nair also spoke.