News Next 2020: Media is didactical in nature: Upendrra Rai, Sahara News

Upendrra Rai, CEO and Editor-in-chief, Sahara News Network, spoke at News Next 2020 conference on the 'Role of media in transforming society’

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Feb 24, 2020 8:30 AM

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Upendrra Rai

“Media has the power to influence society in both a positive and negative way, but it is important to find a balance between the two,” said Upendrra Rai, CEO and Editor-in-chief, Sahara News Network atexchange4media’s News Next 2020 conference.

He spoke on - 'Role of media in transforming society’.

While explaining the power that the media holds in making or breaking a society, Rai recounted the example of William Randolph Hearst's yellow journalism and how it created a war-like situation between Cuba and Spain when he ran a fabricated story about Spain kidnapping a Cuban girl.

Rai said, “Hearst’s story created a war-like situation between Cuba and Spain until Joseph Pulitzer's New York World conducted an exposé and found the whole story to be fake. This shows media can both make and break the society.”

Today, media has power, more than any other medium, to give a voice to the society's dreams and aspirations, Rai added. Citing the example of internet sensation Ranu Monday, he said, “Media has the power to help a pauper with just talent and no backing to become a princess and fulfil her dreams.”

Recounting the encounter of rape accused recently by the Hyderabad police, Rai said: “Constitutionally, this incident was not justified in any manner, but in people's court, there horrendous people (rape accused) were given an apt punishment. Media gave voice to people's opinion, which gave police the courage to act.”

He also acknowledged that earlier, when newspapers were crowd-funded, media was more answerable to society than it’s now. “Today, due to economic reasons, media houses often practise yellow journalism for ratings and TRPs,”

In conclusion, Rai said that according to his editorial knowledge, most of the transformation that media has brought in the society has been positive. “The nature of media is didactical, there is some bad that accompanies the good, but most of the transformation that media has brought in the society has been positive.”

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