The Press Council of India chairman Justice G N Ray today stressed the need for a media commission comprising prominent social thinkers and media persons. He also lamented the downslide in the news content and the gradual demise of the vernacular media at the hands of big media conglomerates.
He,however,said the print media was here to stay despite the onslaught of the television media.
Addressing the UGC-sponsored National Seminar on Future of Print Media,Justice Ray traced the history of print media and its changing role up to the 21st century. Today,I feel the media as a whole has failed to play the role which they should really play in todays life. It can guide the nation to an appropriate path but the present-day scenario is disturbing,and it is with regard to both print and electronic media that one speaks, he said.
Media,he said,was being dictated by market forces and profit has become the motive for newspapers and news channels,which should not be so. Today,many newspapers are turning into tabloids. Also,the media gives a sensational version of a crime that might even be accepted as a version in spite of other proofs,thus defeating the process of justice, he said,adding that with market forces dictating news,the quality of content,especially in print media,has gone down.
Tracing the history of the Indian newspapers,Justice Ray said Bengal was a pioneer in the 19th century in producing high-quality newspapers and time has come for introspection.
He said following the Mumbai attacks last year,questions are being raised about electronic media coverage. A media commission should be formed that will have some of the best social thinkers and media persons in it, he said.
He stressed on the importance of small and medium-size newspapers,the existence of which is at stake due to the increasing penetration of big newspapers with money. The small newspapers serve as a link between urban and rural masses and it shall be a sad day for India if they close down. Big newspapers,with presence in many states and districts,are putting their existence in jeopardy, he added.