New Delhi: Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Minister Prakash Javadekar Monday told media students of the premier Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) to avoid “drama and sensation” in their reportage, and said “anything good happening in society” should also become news.
Javadekar was addressing students during the virtual inauguration of the IIMC Orientation Programme for the academic session 2020-21.
“There is no need for any drama or sensation if your story is based on facts. There are plenty of constructive stories in society, but sadly nobody in the media has time to publish them,” he told the students, according to a statement issued by the government.
Also attending the programme virtually were IIMC Director General Prof. Sanjay Dwivedi, Additional Director General K. Satish Nambudiripad, faculty members from all regional centres and students.
Don’t be TRP-centric
Javadekar further said that TRP-centric journalism is not good.
“The meters installed in 50,000 houses cannot measure the opinion of 22 crore people. We would expand its (the TRP system’s) circumference so that we know what the people watch and what they wish to watch,” the I&B minister added.
In a paper on television audience measurement and ratings this year, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had recommended raising the sample size of panel households from the existing 44,000 to 60,000 households by the end of this year, and to 1,00,000 by the end of 2022, using existing technology.
Earlier this month, the I&B ministry had constituted a four-member committee — headed by Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati — to review the existing guidelines on television rating agencies.
Javadekar said journalism is a responsibility, not a tool to mislead people. He pointed out some pieces of good news — such as the prevention of routine accidents on unmanned railway crossings through deployment of people or constructing underpasses; Wi-Fi facilities at 5,000 railway stations; and the construction and operationalisation of about 100 airports — and asked: “Is all this not news?”
The minister further highlighted the number of people who have benefitted from the various schemes of the Narendra Modi government, including the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin), Ujjwala, Jan Dhan and the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna, among others.
Javadekar also spoke about other achievements of the Modi government, such as 12 crore people getting access to toilets, and 40 crore people having bank accounts now.
“I say, other happenings are also news, but these too are news. Meaningful contribution to the growth of society is the duty of journalism,” he said, adding that the first lesson of journalism is that everything impacting the lives of people is news, and should find adequate space.
The freedom of the press has value in a democracy, and it has to be preserved at any cost. But we should keep in mind that freedom comes with responsibility. Therefore, every one of us has to be responsible,” he told the students.
“As a journalist, you understand both aspects of the story, but your reporting should lead society in the right direction,” Javadekar said.