You are on page 1of 14

Misuse of Mass Media by Politicians

Media is known to be the most powerful means of communication. Mass media are media, which
can be used to communicate and interact with a large number of audiences. Be it the pictorial
messages of the early ages, or the high-technology media that are available today, one thing that
we all agree upon, is that mass media are an inseparable part of our lives. Before we turned
towards actual point i.e. ‘Misuse of Mass Media by Politicians’ we have to understand basic
concepts relating Mass Media, like what is Mass Media? What are the types of Mass Media? How
it influence on Masses? What is the role of Mass Media in society? What are the advantages &
disadvantages of Mass Media? How politicians misused it? Why Media acts bias? How to resolve
the problems? We have to consider all these points in detail to find out appropriate solution.
What is Mass Media?
Entertainment and media always go hand in hand, but in addition to the entertainment, mass
media also remain to be an effective medium for communication, dissemination of information,
advertising, marketing and in general, for expressing and sharing views, opinions and ideas.

Mass media may be defined as any form of communication which is meted out to the people at
large, through the various forms of communication.
The definition of Mass Media is those means of communication that reach and influence large
numbers of people, especially newspapers, popular magazines, radio, and television.

Types of Mass Media:

Mass media is a double-edged sword which means that there are positive effects of media as
well as negative influences of media. Here are some of the different types of mass media
Print Media: The print media includes newspapers, magazines, brochures, newsletters, books
and even leaflets and pamphlets. Visual media like photography can also be mentioned under
this sub-head, since photography is an important mass media, which communicates via visual
representations. Although, it is said that the electronic or new media have replaced the print
media, there exists a majority of audiences who prefer the print media for various communication
purposes. Public speaking and event organizing can also be considered as a form of mass

Electronic Media: For many people, it is impossible to imagine a life without their television sets,
be it the daily news dose or even the soap operas. This mass media includes television and
radio. This category also includes electronic media like movies, CDs and DVDs as well as the
new hottest electronic gadgets.
New-age Media: With the advent of new technologies like Internet, we are now enjoying the
benefits of high technology mass media, which is not only faster but also has a widespread
range. Mobile phones, computers and Internet are often referred to as the new-age media.
Internet has opened up several new opportunities for mass communication which include email,
websites, blogging, Internet tv and many other mass media which are booming today.

Non-mass or "personal" media (point-to-point and person-to-person communication) can include:

Gestures, Letter, Telephony

Role Uses / Functions / Purposes of Mass Media

Mass media can be used for various purposes:

Advocacy, both for business and social concerns. This can include advertising, marketing,
propaganda, public relations, and political communication.
Entertainment, traditionally through performances of acting, music, and sports, along with light
reading; since the late 20th century also through video and computer games.
Public service announcements.

The primary functions of the mass media are to inform, educate, persuade and to entertain the
people. First two functions are directly related to educate the people by providing news and
information. It is expected that the people would be able to decide themselves whatever will come
before them. It means decision making power of the citizen will be increase and enhance by
getting the information of their interest.
Media sector is one of the tools to exercise the right to information.

Media is the bridge between government and the general people, one society to another, and
people to people. Media inform to the general people about the government doing and they also
collect the expectation and aspiration of the general people and urge the government to fulfill their

Media try to motivate the society by exposing good and bad doing which usually occur in the
society. On this sense, media are the servant of the society.

Journalism (Media sector) considered as the fourth estate of the nation. Three major organs of
the state are legislative, executive and judiciary. Separation of the power is well furnished in a
democratic government. These three organs have their own jurisdiction and controlled (check and
balance) within each other. If the executive tries to cross its jurisdiction, then the legislature and
judiciary control it. Judiciary tries to cross its jurisdiction then legislature controls it by formulating
law or by endorsing impeachment motion. If the legislature shows its supremacy then the
executive head holds the power to dissolve it. If these organs unite then the anarchism will be
seen. On this condition and in regular doing press play the role of watch dog which usually makes
alert or warn for the wrong doing and encourage or promote for the better doing. Press usually
produces the alternative for each problem and may suggest to the authorities.

The advantages and disadvantages of media

Mass media enjoys a very prominent role in our lives. There are various effects of mass media on
the society at large. Today, mass media can give a person phenomenal exposure and this can
result in various effects of the mass media on the society. Well, one cannot blame a particular
medium because of outside influences. Here, we shall take a look at such advantages and
disadvantages of mass media.

Pros of Mass Media:

The wide reach offered by mass media is phenomenal. It can target a global audience.
In terms of newspapers and magazines, it can reach a specified target group. Besides, it is easily
accessible. For example, the newspaper lands on the doorstep and we have the latest news in
our drawing rooms due to the television set.
Certain types of media have a loyal fan following. This would mean that an advertiser, publication
or news channel would have a ready audience.
We have the latest news and information at the click of the mouse! The Internet is such a medium
that it can give many options for the kind of information required.
Television, movies, Internet and the radio are some of the best forms of entertainment.
Mass media can be used for educational purposes in an effective manner.

Cons of Mass Media:

At times, the information reported may not be authentic from every angle. Hence, there may be a
misinterpretation of a situation.
News can be manipulated to influence the minds of the audiences. For example – a particular
political party may manipulate reports in their favor, which would indicate the political control in
the media.
Media bias can occur due to various issues. A journalist or an editor may give personal
preference to an issue.
A particular event or a celebrity may receive undue importance and set wrong ideals before the
youth. It may present an ostentatious lifestyle, which may inculcate wrong ideals amongst
Unnecessary sensationalism of an issue may project wrong information to the public.
Misleading messages may again divert young minds towards a wrong path.
Wrong interpretation of news may even blow things out of proportion. This would create further
unrest in any place or even violence in case of extreme situations.
At times, a particular event or news item may receive too much attention simply because of the
lack of important news or snippets. This would again present a wrong idea before the public.
Certain types of mass media such as newspapers or leaflets have a very short shelf life. In terms
of advertising, it would not serve to be useful for every kind of product or message.

Mass Media Influence

In the last 50 years the media influence has grown exponentially with the advance of technology,
first there was the telegraph, then the radio, the newspaper, magazines, television and now the
We live in a society that depends on information and communication to keep moving in the right
direction and do our daily activities like work, entertainment, health care, education, personal
relationships, traveling and anything else that we have to do.

Mass Media Effects on the Society

Media plays a very important role in shaping the personality of people. It has been observed that
citizens become more sensible and capable to shoulder their responsibility towards the nation
and the society because of the media. Over the years, mass media has played an important role
in making people understand the meaning of democracy. We also come to know about the
strengths and weaknesses of the economy of our country, the population figures, the various
problems faced by the nation, achievements of the nation through the prompt and precise
reporting of different forms of media. Media plays an important role in building the sense of unity
and pride among the people
In those countries where there are many castes, religions and languages spoken, media has
even more tough responsibility of conveying the true news to the citizens. Media makes the
citizens aware of their fundamental rights and their duties towards their families, state and the
nation. Utility of the mass media in the areas of advertising and marketing is simply great. The
effects of mass media are truly everlasting.

The best thing about the mass media is that it immediately provides us with the latest information
about the things happening around us. Mass media reports news from all the fields such as
politics, sports, international relations, wars, natural calamities, meetings,
entertainment, etc

the media and the entertainment sector, our knowledge remains up to date and fresh.

Many a times, we understand what is good and bad for us through the media programs. For
example, the anti-tobacco and narcotic programs launched by the media, have benefited many
people to date. The information conveyed about various diseases and their possible treatments
has saved the lives of many of us. The contribution of mass media in the fields of arts, education,
technology and health care is laudable. We also get the correct information about the various
crimes and illegal activities happening in our surroundings quite easily. Media is a boon for
youngsters in many ways. They get useful information related to their career and higher
education mostly through the mass media.

Though the positive mass media effects are many, there are some cons associated with the mass
media. The news which is published without having bothered to check whether it is a fact or not,
can create unnecessary confusion and extreme feelings among the common masses. There have
been many instances of huge fights and controversies emerging, because of improper reporting.
More on negative influences of media. It becomes the duty of media to provide only relevant and
precise information to the masses.

There was a time when one could always rely on the various types of media for accurate
information. But in the recent times, the media is also known for sensationalizing many news or
events and giving unnecessary importance to certain issues
There are times when the producer of a particular channel would be biased towards specific
issues or there may be situations wherein a journalist may report a particular incident with a
prejudiced opinion.

How media influence public opinion

The media has a huge impact on society and also in public opinion. They can shape the public
opinion in different ways depending of what is the objective.

For example, after the attacks of 9/11 the media gave a huge coverage of the event and exposed
Osama guilty for the attack as they were told by the authorities. This shaped the public opinion to
support the war on terrorism, the same happened with the war on Iraq. The problem is that if
media received inaccurate information then the public opinion supported a wrong cause, this is
the power of public opinion influence.

Aarushi murder case: The darker side of media

Media did a good job in covering the Noida double murder case, but what did it achieve by
showing explicit video of Aarushi in a compromising situation, except to bring disgrace to her
name. Is it just for TRPs that news channels work?

Here, we shall take a look at the types and reasons of media bias.

Types and Reasons of Media Bias:

Media bias can happen due to various reasons. It occurs when a journalist or people connected
with reporting of a particular event have a prejudiced opinion about things, which ultimately
results in a distorted version of the story.
Sometimes, there are certain media that may show a political bias towards certain news events.
This happens when the publication or channel is in favor of a particular political party or a
A journalist may also be biased towards a particular incident and may add his/her personal
opinion to the news report. This kind of media bias is purely based on the journalist’s own opinion
which is not considered to be purely ethical as well.
Racial bias and religious bias can happen when the journalist or news reporter gives reports in
favor of a particular religion/race. Racism is a major issue, which can also end up in biased news
Advertisers or corporate companies may also influence the way certain reports are presented.
Reports in this case, are presented in favor of the particular corporate to give it prominence.
Media bias can also be seen when an editor may give importance to a specific story on the page.
This can happen when he/she wants to highlight the same for personal reasons or outside
A particular form of media bias can also happen when the publication or news channel wants to
sensationalize one particular news event. This is termed as sensationalism wherein one section
of the news is over hyped to gain attention.

Media tends to influence and it’s obvious, there are positive as well as negative influences of
mass media. However, it also depends upon the way audiences perceive things. The power of
the mass media is by far recognized by everybody in terms of advertising, marketing and as a
medium to broadcast information to people at large. Since mass media is used to communicate
and interact with people from various walks of life, it can often result in a conflict of options.
What's Wrong with Democracy in India
Our politicians are experts at circumventing the law and making it bend to suit their demands.
However, the average reader is quite aware of the large scale invasion by the political parties into
the print areas of the newspapers in the season of elections.
Is Indian Media – Misusing its Freedom?
“The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the
innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they
control the minds of the masses.”
How mass Media Influence works

It is hard to argue with the fact that mass media has a compelling effect on the human mind.
Especially on minds which are more impressionable. For example, the mass media influence on
children is understandably higher than it is in adults. So how exactly does mass media influence

The media is also known as the fourth estate in certain democracies, where politicians and
their policies go through intense scrutiny by those wielding the pen or the camera, going
behind the scenes to dig, probe and investigate, to expose misdemeanors and
wrongdoings, to act as the non partisan check and balance. Of course it can also be
manipulated to the advantage of certain quarters, and just where our own lies, well we all
should already know.
Our constitution provides freedom of speech and expression to every citizen of the Indian
republic. Our constitution also guarantees the right to privacy to every citizen of the Indian
republic. But the Indian media, seems to have blurred the line between the two basic
constitutional rights on the pretext of the former by encroaching in the private lives of various
citizens, often without permission, on the pretext of right to expression.

We live in the 21st century. In this era of rapid globalization and head on modernization, it is
important that day to day affairs of a state be popularized, evaluated, criticized and identified. For
this purpose, we have our media.
Media is the government's watchdog for all those who indulge in unconstitutional activities and
break the law of the land. Media is the judiciary's reminder to the government that absolute power
rests in the hand of the people. It is also the people's envoy to their representatives which time
and again reminds them of their duties or reprimands them for their wrong deeds. The media is
also reminding the government and the judiciary both, that they are by the people and for the
people. In other words, media is the most powerful vanguard of democracy, representing the
voice of the poor, empowering the needy and giving medium to the common man who wants to
express his opinions to this democracy of more than a billion people.

But power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely. With more than 50
news channels (59 to be exact) we are a country, having the most number of news channels in
the world. With such a fierce competition, the eagerness to grab the maximum eyeballs is now
prevalant in the reporting of every news channel. In the mad race of gaining the maximun TRP's
the truth is often concocted and baseless stories are spawned on the basis of equally baseless
arguments. Careers are made and destroyed, judging by the public perception of the person
(which is eventually and actually shaped by the media). In all this, a section of the media has
completely forgotten that it is its responsibility to be impartial, unbiased and completely clean
when it comes to major issues and issues particularly of national and International interest.

Every news piece, every information item is now viewed as a potential TRP generator and is
shown in a sensationalized manner to gain sympathy for the so called victim or to ignite anger
against the so called culprit. In the past we have seen a majority of issues, where the stance of
the media was biased, partial and irresponsible. Many people even point to the possibility of paid
news making deep incursions in the ethics of news coverage.
Has our Indian media stooped too low? Numerous cases of media trial surface every day
andprima facie it looks that yes, something is wrong.

In India, trial by media has assumed significant proportions. Some famous criminal cases that
would have gone unpunished but for the intervention of media are Priyadarshini Mattoo case,
Jessica Lal case, Nitish Katara murder case and Bijal Joshi rape case.

The media and paid news: Who shall guard the guardians?
Dec 24, 2009 17:56 IST
The media watches everyone but itself, commented an argumentative friend the other day.
How many ‘sting operations’ has the media done on any of its own, say on the ‘Paid News’

The morality of sting operations is a debatable topic but the larger point demanded a response.
The media does investigative stories practically every week but does it deliberately avoid turning
the gaze inwards?
Is everything as it should be with the Indian media – newspapers or television channels?
Even with the relatively free, noisy media we have it is difficult to answer that in the affirmative.

Take the controversy over ‘paid news’ which involves entering into deals with politicians or
corporates to pass off views and product promotion as news.
The Press Council of India has set up a committee to look into it.
It was reported that the committee has enough evidence.
The Editors’ Guild denounced the phenomena of paid content.
According to reports, some executives in the news business accept being paid for news in private
but won’t do it in public.
The upshot is hackneyed but bears repetition — it is easier to preach and prescribe than practise.

No exceptions or are there?

Till then, Bollywood rushes in where the media fears to tread, with movie ‘Rann’ purporting to
hold a mirror to news media
Even Madhur Bhandarkar's 'Page 3' (2005) referred to how the media person acts in different
situation. There are some films which shows the role played by media & politicians like “Phir Bhi
Dil Hai Hindustani”, ‘Nayak’, ‘Satta’, ‘Rajneeti’

Is that the best we can do? Will that be enough?

Another side of Mass Media: RANN

Now coming to the main topic why I choose this topic? It’s because when I saw a film ‘RANN’ by
Ramgopal Varma which reflects another side of the media.
RANN exposes the misuse of the media for political driven agenda’s, and paints a relatively bleak
scene, at times, echoing the style of Bhandarkar’s brand of expose cinema.
What has media come to? Instead of being a moral watch guard of democracy, it’s become a
dirty player in the game of democracy. At least ninety nine percent of media has come to this.
The story runs in a very basic linear pattern with not much of nail-biting suspense. But the
message of the film is loud and clear- 'Media, think where you're headed in this mad race for
The movie was never about one politician or any one particular media channel or the NEWS
channels in particular. There were the impressions from all channels. Talking about Politicians, it
could be anyone or everyone.
The media in the movie is a power-driven, money-centric, viewership-based system where the
truth is of little importance compared to the bikini clad models and other gossips and doses of
entertainment. The system is corrupt and everyone wants to showcase things that the people will
like or the people will be entertained with, not the truth. But there is always an ugly duckling, if not
in the real life, but in the movie at least there is. This is India 24X7 which is headed by Vijay
Harshvardhan Malik (played by Mr. Bachchan). Malik a person who is a guy of principles and
believes that the media is a source for the people to know the truth. He believes in ethics and
follows his principle at any costs.
The movie also showcases the nasty and unlawful politricks of politics. Paresh
Rawal another person was instrumental in his portrayal of Manish Pandey, an
aspiring PM, who has 102 cases charged against him of which 34 are criminal, 25
land scams and others of fraud and other related activities, in short an ideal and
perfect Indian politician.
With money, you can buy power and with power you can mint money, the cycle
continues. There comes a time, when all of this creates so much of ego and greed
in you that you would go to any extent to fulfill your greed.
The media has the power to bring about a change in the perspective of the common
people, to change the government, to define opinions and to create an
understanding. But when this power is misused, the effect is drastic and adverse. A
view into the world of media and politics combined to create and destroy. A story
about Truth and deception, about Power and Money, about the media and the
politics, about you and me, its about US. This is what Rann, is all about.
"The film shows that in the media there is often a conflict between business sensibilities and a
person's conscience. Now does a person compromise on his conscience for the survival of his
business or vice-versa is what has been highlighted in the movie," he said
"'Rann' is about the fact that the media has got the title of the conscience of the nation, but the
media is also a business and sometimes to run a business, you compromise with your
conscience or vice versa.
Question is it is really possible to balance ethics and TRP in media business?
This is what the film is all about. It is believed that media is the conscience of the country. And
media is a business as well. Do media compromise with its conscience for the sake of business?
Or do media compromise with business so that it can maintain its conscience? This is the war
shown in Rann.

It’s the dark side of the media (like taking money and making news) that has been
highlighted in the film?
We have It shows all aspects of it. There is the good, the bad…everything is there. How these
elements are used by some other elements…there is a bit of politics in that also…and also
politicians; and how the story is woven around all these aspects is what Rann is all about.

What's been the reaction of the media to the 'Rann'?

Though the film Rann is simply shows naked truth of media the media critics didn’t accept the
truth with broadminded. They criticized the film as being poorly researched and as "boring and
predictable".[8] Mayank Shekhar of the Hindustan Times called Rann an "exercise in corniness"
[9] while other critics complained that the film is cliché[10] with a poor script and shallow
characters.[11] It was also panned by critics for lack of research[citation needed].
Some other media person says :
The movie is still a fantasy entertainer than a facts optimizer. So it attracts only a group of people
but not the whole bunch of the realistic world.
Over all Rann is embarrassingly ill-researched movie which has to be more practical, then ethical
when it comes to the point of framing or out-casting the facts of the television or the news media.
Rann is an excellent political thriller that's kept tight and pacey from the get go, coupled with a
charismatic cast whose delivery will keep you at the edge of your seat as the narrative unfolds.
It shows irresponsibleness of media

Paid News: A Cancer in Indian Media

How corruption in the Indian media undermines democracy

The phenomenon of “paid news” goes beyond the corruption of individual journalists and media
companies. It has become pervasive, structured and highly organized and in the process, is
undermining democracy in India. Large sections of society, including political personalities, those
working in the media and others, have already expressed their unhappiness and concern about
the pernicious influence of such malpractices.

After the elections, a disturbing trend was highlighted by sections of the media, that is, payment
of money by candidates to representatives of media companies for favourable coverage or the
phenomenon popularly known as “paid news”.

The deception or fraud that such “paid news” entails takes place at three levels. The reader of the
publication or the viewer of the television programme is deceived into believing that what is
essentially an advertisement is in fact, independently produced news content. By not officially
declaring the expenditure incurred on planting “paid news” items, the candidate standing for
election violates the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, which are meant to be enforced by the
Election Commission of India under the Representation of the People Act, 1951. Finally, by not
accounting for the money received from candidates, the concerned media company or its
representatives are violating the provisions of the Companies Act, 1956 as well as the Income
Tax Act, 1961, among other laws.

Introduction and Summary:

The Background:

Corruption in the mass media in India and elsewhere is as old as the media itself. If there is
corruption in society, it would be unrealistic to expect the media to be free of corruption. India is
the world’s largest democracy. A vibrant and diverse mass media is an important pillar of
democracy in the country. The independence of the media facilitates adherence to democratic
norms. Article 19 of the Constitution of India confers the right to freedom of speech and
expression to all citizens of the country and to the media as well.
In recent years, corruption in the Indian media has gone way beyond the corruption of individual
journalists and specific media organizations -- from “planting” information and views in lieu of
favours received in cash or kind, to more institutionalized and organized forms of corruption
wherein newspapers and television channels receive funds for publishing or broadcasting
information in favour of particular individuals, corporate entities, representatives of political parties
and candidates contesting elections, that is sought to be disguised as “news”.

News reports that are printed in publications or broadcast on television channels are meant to
provide information that is not only of interest to the public at large but information that is
supposed to be truthful or factually correct and at the same time, balanced, objective, fair and
neutral. This is what clearly sets apart such information described as news from either opinions
expressed in editorial articles or, more importantly, advertisements or commercials that are paid
for by corporate entities, governments, organizations or individuals. When the distinction between
news and advertisements start blurring, when advertisements double up as news that have been
paid for, or when “news” is published or broadcast in favour of a particular politician or a political
party by selling editorial space, the reader or the viewer is misled or duped into believing that an
advertisement or sponsored feature is a “news” story that is truthful, fair and objective.

When “news” is published in favour of a particular politician or a political party by selling editorial
space, the phenomenon of “paid news” becomes even more pernicious. Innumerable
complimentary “news” reports and feature articles on representatives of political parties, including
candidates who have been contesting elections, have appeared in newspapers and broadcast on
television channels across the country in the run-up to the 2009 Lok Sabha elections as well as
the state legislative assembly elections. No disclosure was made that before such “news” was
printed or broadcast, that money had been exchanged between the concerned candidate or
political party to which he or she belongs and the owners or representatives of media
This report tracks the blurring boundaries between news and advertisements/advertorials and
highlights the efforts made by individuals and representatives of organizations who have
painstakingly chronicled the selling of editorial space for money during elections.
Over the last few years and since 2009 in particular, the phenomenon of “paid news” has
acquired a new and even more pernicious dimension by entering the sphere of political “news” or
“reporting” on candidates contesting elections. Numerous favourable or complimentary “news”
reports and feature articles on representatives of political parties, including candidates who have
been contesting elections, have appeared in newspapers across the country in the run-up to the
Lok Sabha as well as state legislative assembly elections and similar kinds of information have
been aired on television channels without disclosing the fact that monetary transactions have
taken place between the concerned candidate or political party to which he or she belongs and
the owners or representatives of particular media organizations.
The entire operation is clandestine. This malpractice has become widespread and now cuts
across newspapers and television channels, small and large, in different languages and located
in various parts of the country. What is worse, these illegal operations have become “organized”
and involve advertising agencies and public relations firms, besides journalists, managers and
owners of media companies. Marketing executives use the services of journalists – willingly or
otherwise – to gain access to political personalities. So-called “rate cards” or “packages” are
distributed that often include “rates” for publication of “news” items that not merely praise
particular candidates but also criticize their political opponents. Candidates who do not go along
with such “extortionist” practices on the part of media organizations are denied coverage.

Sections of the media in India have willy-nilly become participants and players in such practices
that contribute to the growing use of money power in politics which undermines democratic
processes and norms – while hypocritically pretending to occupy a high moral ground. This has
not merely undermined democracy in India but also tarnished the country’s reputation as foreign
newspapers have started writing about, and commenting adversely on, such malpractices.

Many political parties have their own newspapers & media channels who owns
In addition, owners of media organizations have financial relationships, including share-holdings,
with advertisers, resulting in only favourable information about such advertisers getting
disseminated and unfavourable information against them getting blacked out. Such trends have
been discernible in sections of the Indian media for some years now. The regulator of the
country’s capital markets, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), has written to the
Press Council of India on the issue of “private treaties” between media companies and other
corporate entities and suggested disclosure of financial holdings and mandatory enforcement of
guidelines to ensure that the interests of investors are adequately safeguarded – these
suggestions have been endorsed by the Press Council of India which, in 1996, drew up a set of
guidelines that are particularly applicable to financial journalists.
Certain publications (such as Mint) have drawn up their own codes of ethics that are worthy of
emulation as a measure of self-regulation. But self-regulation is not adequate for checking
rampant malpractices and corruption that have assumed epidemic proportions in many sections
of the print medium as well as the television medium.

In the area of political “paid news”, given the illegal and clandestine nature of such malpractices,
it is not easy to find clinching evidence that pins responsibility for such corrupt practices on
particular persons and organizations. There is, however, a huge volume of circumstantial
evidence that points towards the growing use of the media for publishing “paid news” which is a
form of electoral malpractice. Identical articles with photographs and headlines have appeared in
competing publications carrying by lines of different authors around the same time. On the same
page of specific newspapers, articles have been printed praising competing candidates claiming
that both are likely to win the same elections. Nowhere is there any indication that the publication
of such “news” reports has entailed financial transactions or has been sponsored by certain
individuals or political parties.
When confronted with circumstantial evidence that substantiate allegations of “paid news”, the
standard reaction of individuals and representatives of media organizations accused of corrupt
practices is to pretend that nothing untoward has happened since the evidence is circumstantial
in nature. The typical response of representatives of political parties as well as media
organizations who have been named and against whom specific allegations of corruption have
been levelled, is to flatly deny these allegations. In private, however, these very same people
acknowledge that the cancer of “paid news” has spread deep into the country’s body politic and
needs to be removed.

Such malpractices have destroyed the credibility of the media itself and are, therefore,
detrimental to its own long-term interests. It needs to be noted in this context that so long as
journalists (in particular, those who work in non-urban areas) are paid poverty wages or are
expected to earn their livelihood by doubling up as advertising agents working on commissions,
such malpractices would continue to be rampant.

Call to stop misuse of media in elections
In the final analysis, the question arises as to what can be done to check such corrupt practices in
the media that compromise democratic processes. Can anything be done at all in this regard?
The answers are not easy nor are they simple or clear-cut. Despite its quasi-judicial status, the
Press Council of India has limited powers. The Council has the power to admonish, reprimand
and pass strictures but cannot penalize the errant or those found guilty of malpractices. Besides,
the Council’s mandate does not extend beyond the print medium. A proposal to amend Section
15(4) of the Press Council Act, 1978, to make the directions of the Council binding on
government authorities, has been pending for a long time and should be amended to provide the
Council more “teeth”.

Appointing ombudsmen in media organizations and better self-regulation are options to check the
“paid news” phenomenon. However, self-regulation only offers partial solutions to the problem
since there would always be offenders who would refuse to abide by voluntary codes of conduct
and ethical norms that are not legally mandated. The owners of media companies need to realize
that in the long term, such malpractices undermine not just democracy in the country but the
credibility of the media as well.
Court asks Press Council to frame guidelines for media
The media industry in India and elsewhere has become increasingly difficult to regulate due to
several reasons: technological developments, the globalisation of media conglomerates and the
trend of certain suppliers and creators of news (public relations practitioners, advertisers and
interest groups) getting closely involved with the working of media organisations. The dynamics of
the media industry aside, the sheer extent of influence exercised by the media over the public at
large is reason enough for subjecting the ethical practices and business activities of media
organisations to critical scrutiny.

The concepts of democracy and of the market are both built on the principle of individual choice,
but there is a danger that those who have accumulated wealth in the market will use it to exert
influence over decisions that should be governed by democratic principles. Media institutions face
particular dilemmas because these organisations represent a key element of an effective
democracy while being, for the most part, commercial entities seeking success in the market by
maximising profits. The commercial activities and market interests of media institutions might
distort the role they play in the formation of public opinion and consequently in upholding
principles and norms of democracy. Favourable coverage for those in positions of power and
authority by the media, for commercial reasons, might influence the decisions made by these

A widespread problem is the attempt to influence public debate through the purchase of
advertising space and the purchase of favourable editorial comment.
Most journalists are employees, increasingly, of large companies or organisations whose primary
aim is to maximise profits and returns to shareholders. Insofar as journalists’ duties are in part
defined by their role in corporate organisations, most of the ethical dilemmas they face begin with
the inherent conflict between the individual’s role as a journalist providing independent
information to the public and his or her employer’s quest for profit.
With the number of media outlets (both in print and electronic) increasing at a rapid pace, it is
high time the Press Council of India is given some powers in order to ensure that such blatant
corruption is prevented from spreading further.

Press Council forms panel to study ‘paid news syndrome’

Guidelines for crime reporting to be formulated

After deliberating on the issue, the Press Council of India endorsed the views expressed by the
SEBI and stated that the relevant guidelines should be made applicable and mandatory not only
to financial journalists but to owners of media companies as well. This would be in the interests of
transparency and fairness and would reduce the incidence of biased news about companies
being published that is inimical to the interests of investors.
This would help break the nexus that exists between politics and many sections of the media.”
During a December meeting, the elections body also directed the press council to 'formulate
guidelines to the media house' to require that the money involved be incorporated in the political
party and candidate expenditures.
Moreover the trend threatens the foundation of journalism by eroding public faith in the credibility
and impartiality of news reporting. It also vitiated the poll process and prevented a fair election,
since richer candidates who could pay for their publicity had a clear advantage,"
While admitting the right of news media to go for advertisements in various occasions,
the 'media houses should distinguish the advertisements with full and proper disclosure norms,
so that no reader and viewer is tricked by any subterfuge of advertisements published and
broadcast in the same format, language and style of news'.
Thus, there is no denying the fact that there is an urgent need to protect the public's right to
correct and unbiased information,"

Codification of Legislative Privileges

Can the government run an advertising campaign in the mass media?
Mass media particularly the newspapers have a mass appeal. People normally believe what the
newspapers say. Politicians in collusion with the newspapers have corrupted the minds of the
voters and manipulated the situation. Advertisements at the cost of the public exchequer and
misuse of official mass media like Doordarshan for partisan coverage during an election have to
be scrupulously avoided.
“For example, a news item headlined, ‘Young, dynamic leadership’, eulogising the Maharashtra
Chief Minister Shri Ashok Chavan appeared using exactly similar words from beginning to end in
three competing Marathi newspapers – Lokmat, Pudhari and Maharashtra Times. If a question
were posed to these three newspapers as to how the exactly same articles appeared in their
pages, their reply would be customised. They would say that accidentally one of the press
releases of the Congress party went directly to the press without passing through the copy desk
and therefore the same news appeared in a similar manner in all three newspapers. But, had it
been a press release, it should have been circulated to all newspapers and not just three. The
question, therefore, arises as to how the press release found its way only to three newspapers.
The news was published by Pudhari on October 7, 2009, whereas, the other two newspapers had
carried it on October 10. Is there a practice among these newspapers to carry three-day-old press
Press Needs To Improve
how money power and corrupt journalism have always been major factors influencing the
outcome of any election – this is not a phenomenon that has appeared overnight. Yet, the last
two general elections – of 2004 and 2009 – were exceptional even by past standards in the
manner in which huge amounts of money were spent by candidates in their election campaigns.
the fact that candidates were incurring expenditures that were far higher than what is officially
permitted by the Election Commission of India. It was visible to the naked eye. Proving it with
documentary evidence was another matter.” the general elections of 2009 witnessed a paradigm
shift in the manner in which candidates and political parties worked hand in glove with the press
and media houses in masquerading advertisements of candidates and parties as political “news”.
• “Paid news” has become an organized and properly structured “industry” that large PR firms,
professional designers and advertising agencies handled contracts worth many crore rupees –
not just to position advertisements but to create “news”. But the scale of the operation was so
large that confusion and overlap were inevitable and many giveaway mistakes occurred (for
instance, the same “exclusive” story appeared under different bylines in rival newspapers – word
for word). It is corporate-controlled and functions with the full patronage and participation of some
of the largest media groups in the country. The use of these large corporate PR firms gave
resource-rich parties an unfair edge over their electoral rivals (about whom, news was blacked
out because they could not pay) and this malpractice has sullied India’s proud electoral
democracy. The individual journalist has no importance in this “industry” because what is
published as “news” has not been independently gathered and reported by reporters and
journalists but written and published as per the wishes of the political party or the candidate who
has paid money to the concerned publisher or media organisation. Indeed, in some cases the
reporter was not even required as the public relations (PR) machinery behind the politician got
down to work. In some newspapers in Gujarat, reporters complained that they were ordered not
to file political reports.
• This “industry” has become so organized Propaganda put out as “news” was customised by
these image-creation agencies to appear as “exclusive” news articles in the publications these
appeared in.
• The new aspect of this phenomenon of “paid news” in 2009 is that there was widespread
participation by political parties in this process. The integration and assimilation of leading political
parties and corporate public relations bodies in this racket is also unique to the elections of 2009.
“Money power of politicians clearly enables them acquire media power during elections.
Likewise, the propaganda power of media barons enables them to control or acquire political
power – both financially rewarding exercises. In one way, the media is leading the charge in
keeping the aam aadmi, who is much poorer than the elected representatives, out of the electoral
process. Please also note that media owners can also be leading politicians and financially
powerful too. Lokmat, for instance, is the fourth largest circulated daily in India.
“The real issue is to prove that news has been paid for? All such clandestine dealings, which
involved the exchange of a lot of money, left no trace or evidence in their trail. No agreements
and no receipts of payment that could serve as proof of transactions exist.”
The Indian media has been seen as sensitive, patriotic, and very much an influential tool in the
socio-political sphere since the days of freedom movement. The father of the Indian nation
Mahatma Gandhi initiated his movement with the moral power of active journalism. Today, India
with its billion population supports nearly 70,000 registered newspapers and over 450 television
The Main Goal - Growth with Freedom
The Indian media, as a whole, often plays the role of constructive opposition in Parliament as well
as in various legislative assemblies of the state. Journalists are, by and large, honored and
accepted as the moral guide in Indian society. While the newspapers in Europe and America are
loosing their readership annually, Indian print media is still going strong with huge circulation
For a democratic India, the media continues to be acclaimed as the fourth important pillar after
judiciary, parliament, and bureaucracy. Millions of rupees have been reportedly been paid to
media houses.
Indian people, election commission, parliamentarians, media watchdog and even the media
persons have finally woken up to the menace of 'paid news' culture in the mainstream media. The
practice of paying for editorial content, particularly by political candidates, has been an gnawing
issue that involves money in acquiring unethically media space by the beneficiaries remained an
important issue in India for many years. But lately the practice appears to be becoming
institutionalized, not by poverty-stricken reporters but by the publishers themselves.
Lately, a number of influential media persons' organisations have shown their concern with the ill
practice of journalism in the country. Then it was picked up by the Press Council of India, the
Election Commission of India and the upper house of Indian parliament.

It is alleged that many media houses in the country, irrespective of their volume of business, sell
news space to politicians and corporate people without distinguishing those items as
the corporatisation of the media world had simply threatened the existence of free media.
“Now the newspaper owners are greatly influenced by political clout. The proprietors now grant
space for vivid coverage for the benefit of their “friendly politicians” in the newspapers.
Despite the extent of the practice in India today, the Indian election commission is now taking the
issue seriously. The commission recently asked the Press Council of India (PCI) to define what
constitutes paid political news such that it can adopt guidelines accordingly.

"You can find a number of examples in Guwahati, where the proprietors of the media houses had
misused the media space for their individual benefits. It is amazing how some newspapers (and
also news channels) change their point of views towards a politician or party suddenly after
getting money (in cash or kinds),"
But how long it will continue that remains a bigger question!

9. Conclusion

When I took this issue as a project I don’t have any idea about involvement of media in this issue,
till date I have picture at front of me as media is worked under the influence of political & industrial
leaders. I just followed as shown in RANN & tried to find out truth but truth is very disturbing as
now not only politician are involved but media itself involved in this by paid news issue & my
thought of misuse of media by politicians is withdraw and another fact rise about media
involvement which is disgusting that media is misused its freedom & used news like
advertisement selling.

Another truth came forward that is media is enforcing all of them to be paid for their news. It is
ridiculous, pathetic that the main cause of media to introduce truth to the ordinary man is kept
beside by these paid news culture.

“The IGNORANT MASSES are ASSES. This is nothing NEW to the few who KNEW.”
Present day politics in India is so overtly besmirched by our netas that the thinking man or most
educated citizens in India do not want to risk applying his or her mind in an effort to vote, let alone
establishing changes in the society, because he believes it is a dead cause and any attempt is
but an exercise in futility.

My point? When the common citizen around the world finally wakes up and stops being so god
damn IGNORANT, they will then be able to figure out what’s news “worthy” and what’s just crap
or inconsequential reporting. I’m simply amazed at how much IGNORANCE there is in the world
— in country India, here throughout Africa, and even in the so-called West. Heck, ignorance —
not malaria, HIV/AIDS, TB, typhoid, strep, etc. — is the most SERIOUS “dis-ease” afflicting
wo/man kind.
It seems like the media has become like a raging bull, which has gone berserk but without a man
showing red flag or controlling it.

We have put our trust on the media as an authority to give us news, entertainment and education.
However, the influence of mass media on our kids, teenagers and society is so big that we should
know how it really works.
Of all the media distribution channels the most influential has been the television, we are
constantly exposed to thousands of images of violence, advertising, sex, celebrities and much
more, in fact a its known that a child is exposed to about 40,000 ads a year.

Media has served as a boon to mankind. It has provided us with an exposure to the world outside
our cozy homes. It has resulted in an exchange of views on a variety of subjects of a wide variety
of people from all around the world, thereby leading to a global sharing of knowledge. Mass
media has given each of us a platform to voice our opinions on all sorts of social and political
issues and share information with one another. It has brought out easy ways of communication
and provided us with easily accessible means to reach out to people on the other side of the
planet. Thanks to the technological development, we have been able to achieve a platform that
enables us to present ourselves to the rest of the world. The negative influences of media that are
a result of an overexposure to it, are most often talked about. It is true to a certain extent that
media has affected the society in a negative manner. But, undoubtedly, media has proved being
a bliss.

10. Bibliography