At the recently held enba 2015 esteemed panelists like Avinash Pandey of ABP News, Dr. Waiel Awwad(a Syrian journalist and political analyst), Rohit Gandhi of Zee Media and Saurabh Shukla of NewsMobile enthralled the audience with their conversation on the topic – ‘Broadcast across Borders,’ with Madhavan Narayanan of Hindustan Times as the moderator.
Dr. Awwad, on being asked about his views on international channels and their perspective of Syria, said, “I am from a region where selective news is broadcasted, and I come from a land which once was impossible for people to locate in the map. But today, we are number one in the world in sending out refugees. So the question to be asked is, ‘Why now, Syria?’ It is because of the discovery of oil and gas in the region, that is why the sudden interest.” He further said that the Syrians have to pay the price because “the war is imposed on us”.
On his opinion on the coverage of the Syrian war by international media broadcasters, Dr. Awwad said, that there is “checkbook diplomacy, and the first victim of the war of Syria is the truth.” He feels, international broadcasters portray images that would garner monetary benefits for them, but not the truth, and that is how news is manufactured. If one thought that “paid news” in India was a problem, “checkbook diplomacy” can be added as another rising international controversy.
Whereas, Anna Belkina spoke about Russia Today’s coverage on the US Wall Street crisis, and said that RT was the only network for the first 19-20 days that covered the crisis when no other broadcaster in the world deemed it important enough. Fast forwardby a month, and it went on to become a global phenomenon.
On being asked about perspectives turning to bias, Rohit Gandhi said, “I come from a very different school of thought of journalism, I have worked cross-borders, but I believe in journalism across borders. I believe in building a network that believes in the world as one. I think it is essential as a journalist to maintain this thought, and stay honest to what we do.”
Speaking about “Indian perspective of broadcast news”, Saurabh Shukla stated, “There is surely an Indian perspective which is there when you’re covering a story and want to get a reader connected, but it is important to be neutral.”
Avinash Pandey elucidated on the revenue of news by saying, “The biggest problem for a news media is finding out people who believe in what your opinion is. News is not just about reporting what is happening, as it is happening. The cost of covering news is very high, as you have to ensure that your reporter is well equipped to cover that piece of news. You also need to cover news in such a way that you have a sizeable audience to view it as the large amount of revenue will come from subscription.”
The panel concluded on the note that international broadcast without borders is less about popularity and more about credibility. As a result, credibility is the brand that attracts viewers.