The government is considering a proposal by eminent journalist Kuldeep Nayar to set up a ‘Media Commission’ to act as a common regulator for the media, Information & Broadcasting Minister S Jaipal Reddy said at a book release function here today attended by many media dignitaries.
Releasing the book, ‘Should There Be A Lakshmanrekha For News Media’, which is a compilation of the deliberations on the topic jointly organised by CMS and The Press Academy of AP, Reddy said, “The rekha will not be drawn by either the government or the law; media has to draw it on its own.”
Expressing concerns over the present state of media, Reddy said, “The business is going up, eyeballs are going up, but what Indian media should ask itself is whether the credibility is also going up or not. And if the credibility is not going up, then how can media remain influential?”
Holding trivialisation, glamorisation and sensationalisation responsible for the present state of Indian media, Reddy commented, “It is high time the Fourth Estate introspects lest it lose its already declining credibility which will be bad for Indian democracy.”
Though Reddy refused to divulge any details of the proposed commission or give a time frame for its establishment, he seemed worried about the current trend of the diminishing role of editors and increasing clout of media barons, especially the likes of Rupert Murdock and Ted Turner. Said Reddy, “It is easy to curb business barons who are affluent, but it is very difficult to curb media barons who are a confluence of influence and affluence.”
As reported earlier, the government is already in the process of instituting a regulatory body for the electronic media called Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC) under the aegis of Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Limited (BACIL).
The ceremony was presided over by Press Council of India (PCI) Chairman Justice GN Ray. Among others who attended were M J Akbar, Editor, Asian Age, veteran journalist Kuldeep Nair, Dr N Bhaskara Rao, Chairman, CMS, and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Rajashekar Reddy.