Thursday, July 15, 2010

P Sainath criticises vast disconnect between media & masses

New Delhi, Jun 30 (UNI) Calling it a ''structural compulsion on news media industry to lie'', Palagummi Sainath, Indian development journalist today alleged that the media has become a corporate entity which is massively disconnected from the interest of masses.

Be it reporting about the fuel price hike, Bhopal Gas Tragedy or farmer suicides, the Ramon Magsaysay award winner condemned the media for reporting in interest of few rich class people.

''The fuel prices have been raised at a time when people have already been reeling under high food prices. Instead of becoming the voice of the masses, the media has been congratulating the government for championing the cause,'' Mr Sainath said.

He was speaking while addressing the gathering during IGNOU Silver Jubilee Lecture on ''Mass Media - But, where are the masses?'' at the University Campus here.

Lambasting the government for its decision to hike the prices of petro-products, he said, ''The prices were raised at such a time when the Prime Minister was at Toronto speaking about inclusive growth.''

All the conveniences of the rich like air travel, cars, computers and cell phones have become cheaper while the necessities of the poor including food, oil, among others, have become hundreds times expensive, he added.

Referring to the Bhopal Gas tragedy, he said instead of attacking on the criminals, the editorials have been attacking the activist industry. ''Their entire approach is based on writing about Warren Anderson and his return to the country which is least of the issues,'' he said.

The rural reporter also brought out the coverage given to the suicide of model Viveka Babajee. ''The print media has been giving two pages daily to the updates in the model suicide while they never showed that keen interest in reporting about the farmer suicides,'' he said. Even on front pages, her suicide took similar space as the winning of Indonesia Open Super Series by Saina Nehwal, he added.

However, the renowned journalist expressed hope that the upcoming young journalists, especially from the rural area, are attached to their land and people and would surely bring about the required turn around in the industry.

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