With so much happening in my media beat, I have been on my toes throughout the week – top level movements, launch of new editions of newspapers, announcement of some new channels, panel discussions, some developments in the digitisation process…
Earlier this week, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) had asked MSOs and LCOs to provide the exact status on the set top boxes – how many they had installed, how many had been ordered, how much inventory they had in hand, etc. The diktat said that providing any wrong information would lead to the cancellation of the MSO’s license.
This time, the Government is taking no chances with the digitization process and is taking all steps to preempt any move of the MSOs and LCOs to seek another extension of the deadline. A good move on part of the Government; should have been taken earlier, but better late than never.
This week, I also had the opportunity to attend a panel discussion on ‘Threats to media freedom and independence’. Held by the Editors’ Guild of India, some of India top editors debated on how much freedom was too much for the media in India and whether self-regulation was the best option. One thing that Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief, Indian Express, said struck me. He had observed, “We’ve got freedom, but we don’t know how to deal with it.” I feel we as mediapersons need to respect the freedom that the laws of this country have given us and use it judiciously. It will be a sorry state indeed were the media to be regulated by a ton of rules and dos and don’ts. Better to self-regulate than have someone else pull all the strings. I feel the Indian media is responsible enough to highlight what is important and what is not.
Giving a boost to journalist in India, the Press Council of India announced the setting up of National Awards for Excellence in Journalism. Though there are several journalism awards, the Press Council initiative is a welcome step.