Truth is a rare commodity; media heavily compromised by commercial reasons: Kapil Sibal
Sibal was speaking to Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance on his Visionary Talk series
Eminent lawyer and MP Rajya Sabha,Kapil Sibal has said that truth is very rare commodity and everything depends on the eye of the beholder. It is very difficult to define truth as it can be seen differently by different people.
“The nature of truth always changes because there are new ways of looking at things. There is new data, new enlightenment and many things ultimately result in what is truth. Sometimes you start with a proposition but end with different proposition. Truth is not static” he said .
Sibal was in live webinar with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now during episode 17 of the Visionary Talk series organized by the public policy and governance analysis platform.
Speaking on the fourth pillar of democracy, the senior leader said that when you talk of the fourth pillar of democracy it is a pillar that has actually dismantled itself… it’s on self destruct mode. He explained that there are four aspects to it. Firstly, he said that the nature of media is completely changed over the years and cited the example leaders like Lala Lajpat Rai, Mahatma Gandhi and Lokmanya Tilak during Independence , who edited and ran their own newspapers through donations.
“There was no commercial aspect, no industry, commerce or ads worth so there were no interests involved in disseminating opinions. That media, which was free speech is now completely transformed. Today it has been transformed into commercial speech where TRP’s are important and how you get more TRP’s. Ultimately the more TRP’s you get the more advertising revenues you get and the more advertising revenue you get, the more you want the TRP’s to increase to get even more revenue. So it is about commerce and earning money ..it is the desire to earn more that dominates .Whatever sells whether it’s true or not true, to try and sell it” Sibal said while speaking on its second aspect which he said has completely changed.
Thirdly, Sibal said that media houses are now controlled by industry. Industry has vested interest in government and media really survives through government revenues and govt ads and that very few private ads make media houses self sufficient. “So if you are an industry , you have stakes in govt and you need govt ads to run your media channels then at some level an element of compromise takes place. The more you please the government,the more happy the government is to give you ads..it’s a vicious circle. Somewhere down the road what you call truth gets compromised.”
He added that for free speech to flourish in the country we need to dismantle this.
The social media, Sibal said that it is the fourth dimension of media where you are not liable at all, unlike the mainstream and print media where you are liable under certain laws. On social media you are protected by anonymity, you can say anything you want whether is true or untrue and mostly you vilify and abuse people and there is no recourse to the individual who is victimized and you see it happening everyday.
He recited his poem penned on current state of media and said , “Camera views with just one eye, I wish it could have two, along with a mind that helps to find what is truth.’’
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