“Paid news is becoming a menace in TV and print, both in language media as well as in English news. It is a threat to the society as well as freedom of media and must be stopped immediately,” said Uday Shankar, CEO, STAR India.
Speaking exclusively to exchange4media, Shankar said, “The Parliamentary Committee’s concern about paid news is extremely valid and urgent.”
As is known a 31-member Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, headed by Rao Inderjit Singh, Lok Sabha MP from Gurgaon, has been studying the issue of paid news since 2010. After various suggestions from leading experts, the panel has proposed to bring the news industry under a new media council.
This has raised the heckles of the media industry, with broadcasters stressing on continuing with self-regulation instead of Government control.
Sharing his views on the self regulation system, Shankar expressed, “Television broadcasters have taken an active step by setting up a self regulatory body, which is transparent, empowered and headed by people of high integrity. There is a need to strengthen this and the Government needs to make sure all news broadcasters are covered by this self regulatory body.”
He further said, “I also think that time has come for the self regulatory body to be given a statutory authority, and the Parliamentary Committee’s report will further strengthen the case for that.”
Speaking on the paid news menace in print media and its regulation, Shankar stressed that there is need to create an equally strong self regulatory mechanism for print media. He added, “The self regulatory body must get very vigilant on paid news immediately, because this is a virus that is lethal and is acquiring epidemic proportions.”