By Madhup Yadav. Chandigarh, 12th July : Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today lauded the role of Media in coverage of 2009 Lok Sabha elections and said that it faced the formidable challenge of taking the election process to 700 million voters across the country and informing the people about the election programmes and other guidelines circulated by the Election Commission from time to time. Hooda also welcomed the decision of EC to ban exit polls and said that it was a right decision in view of doubtful credibility of such polls, often accused of bias. Calling for correction in imbalance in coverage of India in foreign media and vice versa, he said that the under-developed countries were not getting due coverage in International Media as compared to developed countries.
Referring to dilution of spirit of nationalism, the Chief Minister urged the media persons to change the mindset of people and inculcate the patriotism and nationalism as a continuing process. He lauded the efforts of IMC to provide a platform for wide discussions on the ills plaguing media and said that all modes of communication including print, electronic, internet and visual media should avoid sensationalism and undue coverage to frivolous issues not concerning the common man.
Punjab minister Manoranjan Kalia stressed the need for regular training and refresher courses for the media to remain updated and keep the larger national interests in mind while reporting sensitive issues. He observed that the media reporting, especially in TV channels had less hard news content and more entertainment and the viewers were at the receiving end.
In his key-note address on “Role of Media during Parliamentary elections-2009”, Dr Chandan Mitra, Chairman of IMC and Editor-in-Chief of The Pioneer expressed grave concern over “rank commercialisation of election process’ by the media and extraction of money from political parties and individual candidates in a brazen and organized manner in the name of “packaging news coverage”.
Shyam Khosla, Director of IMC referring to packages offered by newspapers and TV channels for coverage of elections, regretted that the media virtually sold itself. It was a sad commentary on our system that the media, known as the fourth pillar of democracy chose to “connive and collaborate” with political parties in sharing the spoils of a corrupt system.
A large number of delegates participated in the discussion and shared their concern over the commercialization of media and mad race for earning TRP’s. This two day meeting of Governing Board of India Media Centre (IMC) concluded with a resolve to work for effective intervention in “ethical, responsible and unbiased” reporting of national and International happenings.