Stating that corporate ownership of media is an inescapable reality as is surrogate political ownership as well as government ownership in the public broadcaster format,Information & Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari on Saturday cited UKs controversial Royal Charter on Media Regulation lamenting it has not found resonance in India.
Speaking at a function to celebrate the National Press Day,he said diverse interests are always at play in the media space and the challenge is to try and find the elusive golden mean so that public interest does not become a permanent casualty at the altar of competing and contradictory private interests.
Post-Lord Leveson inquiry,the British government with broad multi-partisan support promulgated the Royal Charter on Media Regulation recently despite opposition by powerful interests in the British media industry. Unfortunately,this development has not found resonance in the otherwise vacuous realm of public polemics in our country, Tewari said at a function organised by the Press Council of India. He said perhaps the media industry would be better served if stakeholders were to calmly consider evolving means and measures of putting Chinese walls cast in concrete between commercial considerations and editorial autonomy. Recently in influential publications,very eminent editors have voluntarily relinquished their managerial responsibilities. This is indeed laudable and an example that inspires emulation by one and all, he said.
Vice-President Hamid Ansari said some disconcerting developments related to the media have been noticed in India. In relation to economic liberalisation in the post-1991 period,the mainstream media has generally adopted a laudatory tone and tended to underplay its negative socio-economic effects,though,of course,there have been excellent exceptions. The need for presenting a more balanced picture is essential, he said. He said press and media scene in India veers from reasoned debate,under-stated expression and moderation in views,to polemical overstatement,hysterical outpouring and plain misinformation.