Research Paper – Indian News channels- A need for Code of Ethics
1.1 Media and Code of Ethics
The most common question that today’s media is facing is that Does the media – particularly the broadcast media need regulation, and if so, of what kind? The question was more prominent after the Mumbai terror attacks. In December 2008 News Broadcasters Association released a set of guidelines that television news channels should follow in emergency situations following severe criticism over the way TV covered the Mumbai terror attacks. At present we have approximately 30 news channels in our country and there is a war of Television Rating Points going on between them. TRP is linked with advertisements and revenues which is the only source of income for most of the news channels. Thus the war of TRP’s is a war of profit and to earn more profits the news channels have started breaking all the standards of profession. This raised the question should electronic media, news media in particular, have a mandatory code of conduct? many cases like Uma Khurana case, actress Monika Bed casei, story of a car without driver and stories and programmes on ghosts and witches stick a big question mark on the content and sense of responsibilities of news channels.
Source:http://www.hhttp:/ media.com/2008/12/2454 rights of Cwwwable New
1.2 Media and Constitution
Freedom of expression or and responsibilities towards society must have good balance but somehow in today’s media this balance has been lost. Electronic media, both entertainment and news, get freedom of expression and it is mentioned in article 19(1)(a) of our constitution like others. There is no any separate provision for the freedom of press like the constitution of USA and few other countries but the Supreme court has given the orders to save the freedom of press several times. Article 19(1)(a) do not give the absolute or boundless freedom to express.
1.3 Media – A Powerful Tool
Broadcast media is a very powerful tool to influence people. it has greater impact on the thinking and the decision of the masses. people watch television news because they trust the channel and they believe everything that is being broadcasted by the channels. so it is a prime responsibility of the channels to hold on to this trust and to show what is in public interest.
1.4 Proposed Bill
A draft of the proposed “Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill” was put on the website of Information & Broadcasting Ministry for inviting comments. It shows the importance and sensitiveness of the broadcast media in the eye of government and the present situation (Worst) of this media is crystal clear to all so the Government wants to create a mechanism that could put few genuine restrictions on the broadcasted content. But the electronic media has protested against any code of conduct that is made by government. They are alleging that the Government wants to control electronic news media. After many rounds of meetings both the Government and news channels have come to a solution. News channels are ready to have a code of conduct and the Government is ready to allow the news channels to make code of conduct for them by themselves.
1.5 A demand for self regulatory code of conduct
News channels have demanded one year for the making of code of conduct and got permission too. Thus the “Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill” will have to wait for at least one year for being an act and practical enforcement. Thus no body can deny the need of some type of genuine control and restrictions on it but the freedom of news media can not be ignored at all too.We have faced the result of press censorship once during the Emergency so we can’t allow the Government to have power to control news media again.
The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) represents the private television news & current affairs broadcasters. It is the collective voice of the news & current affairs broadcasters in India .It is an organization funded entirely by its members.
The NBA has presently 14 leading news and current affairs broadcasters (comprising 34 news and current affairs channels) as its members. The NBA presents a unified and credible voice before the Government, on matters that affect the growing industry.
The News Broadcaster’s Association (NBA) has submitted to the central government, code of ethics and broadcasting standards, in order to improve the quality of broadcasting on Indian Television. NBA has submitted two principal documents to the government, ‘Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards’ and ‘News Broadcasting Standards (Dispute Redressal) Regulations.
The self-regulation proposals to the government includes that no news should be selected to or designed to promote any particular opinion, belief or desires of any interest group. The channels, according to the code of ethics, should maintain objectivity and impartiality in reporting. On the recent sting operation controversy, the proposal states that as a guiding principle, sting and undercover operations should be the last resort of news channels to give a viewer comprehensive news coverage of any news story.
The document also contained that crime and violence should not be glorified in the country. There is a restriction on portraying sex and nudity on the channels and clauses for depiction of violence against women and children. The news channels are also expected to maintain neutrality and to ensure that charges against anyone are not portrayed as an act of guilt.
|Any person aggrieved by any breach by a Member or an Associate Member of the News Broadcasters Association (“NBA”) of the Code of Ethics & Broadcasting Standards (“Code”) laid down by the NBA in relation to any programme broadcast by such Member/Associate Member, has a right to file a complaint in that regard before theNews Broadcasting Standards Authority (“Authority”).|
You may complain of any breach of the Code, including the following Principles of Self Regulation contained in the Code :
- Impartiality and objectivity in reporting
- Ensuring neutrality
- Reporting on crime and safeguards to ensure crime and violence are not glorified
- Depiction of violence or intimidation against women and children
- Sex and nudity
- Endangering national security
- Refraining from advocating or encouraging superstition and occultism
- Sting operations
A complaint must be made in writing, either in English or Hindi, and must include the following:
- Copy of the complaint letter sent to the broadcaster;
- Copy of reply received from the concerned broadcaster ;
- Name and address of the broadcaster.
- Specify the news item, programme
- Date, time and channel of broadcast.
- Short summary of what the complainant is aggrieved of, in particular what precept of the Code has been breached (detailed in the section ‘What can I complain about? of this booklet).
- All relevant documentary or other material, if any, in support of the complaint.
- A complainant will be required to pay Rs. 1,000/- per complaint towards administrative costs by a demand draft / pay order favouring “News Broadcasters Association” payable at Delhi.
It is important to include all the above details. To assist complainants, a ‘Complaint Form’ is available on the website at http://www.nbanewdelhi.com or it can be obtained from the NBA office.
Source : http://www.NBA.gov.in
Sensationalism and yellow journalism have become a part of today’s media. every small issues have started to be sensationalized and its a bollywoodisation of news. celebrities are using news channels to promote themselves as well as their films. also the political parties are seen promoting themselves with the help of media. also media sometimes is seen biased towards a political party and thus its stand reflects in its reportingMedia must be careful in allotting space in terms of news and pictures to people who are clearly not well intentioned like criminals, thugs, and hate mongers of various kinds. Sometimes media glorifies them by giving them space. It is a duty of a reporter to look more closely at the issues of social change. In a developing society relationships are changing and the whole process of social change is complex. Instead of looking at them superficially they need to go deeper in terms of finding out as to what is happening in terms of social change. In earlier times job of media was considered to provide the government critical support and not to oppose it. However, during the last nearly two decades the situation has undergone a lot of change. In a developing country like India handing over everything including our current affairs to the market is a dangerous trends.
1.7 Cases Taken by the Researcher to understand the Need of Code of Ethics in Indian Media
(1) Coverage of 26/11 by electronic media
(2) Ruchika Case
(3) Celebrities using news channels as a medium to promote themselves
(4) Aarushi Murder Case
(5) Uma Khurana – Fake Sting Operation.
Review of Literature
It is important for the researcher to know the studies that have been conducted in past on the topic similar to the one selected by the researcher. In order to conduct a perfect investigation of the reports she needs to study the past reports and studies to understand the facts and the ideas conveyed by the previous researchers.
The researcher’s motive behind writing the literature review is to convey what knowledge and ideas have been already established in the past pertaining to his topic or subject to his readers.
The topic of the present research is to understand the need of Code of Ethics for the Indian news channels. The researcher tried to find out whether any previous researches were done on the same topic or not. No past study conforming exactly to this subject of this research has been, at least nothing came to the notice of this researcher.
For this research study a literature review was done using findings of the cases from various websites and even newspaper articles. . This researcher managed to find very few results for the article search by first doing an extensive net search through search engines like www.google.com, www.wikipedia.com
2.2 Face the Nation: Why blame media for 26/11 coverage?
Published on Fri, Dec 19, 2008 at 09:48, Updated on Fri, Dec 19, 2008 at 10:00 in India section
This is an article on 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and the way it was covered by media. For the 26/11 coverage media had been highly criticized and this articles had the view points which media had laid down defending themselves
This helped the researcher to understand media view point before coming to any conclusion.
2.3 Media Sensationalism of the 26/11 Attacks: Is it justified?
this article helped the researcher to understand the mistakes done by media. It helped the researcher to conduct a proper investigation
2.4 Aarushi Talwar murder case , Ruchika Girhotra case , Uma Khurana case
the details of the above mentioned cases were obtained from this site. This articles helped the researcher to get the exact dates and exact happenings related to the cases.
The researcher could not find any previously done studies on the topic of code of conduct for media. The researcher found the case details of the cases selected by her from the above mentioned websites and she analysed the cases to come to a proper conclusion.
Research Methodology and Design
3.1: Statement of Problem
The researcher has attempted to find out the need of Code of Ethics in Indian Media. Five cases have been taken to understand this. Each case has been discussed from the media’s and the audience’s perspective to understand where media went wrong in giving a fair decision. The five cases taken are
(1) Coverage of 26/11 by electronic media
(2) Ruchika Girhotra Case
(3) Celebrities using news channels as a medium to promote themselves
(4) Aarushi Talwar Murder Case
(5) Uma Khurana – Fake Sting Operation.
A code of ethics is a set of guidelines which are designed to set out acceptable behaviors for members of a particular group, association, or profession. Many organizations govern themselves with a code of ethics, especially when they handle sensitive issues like investments, health care, or interactions with other cultures. In addition to setting a professional standard, a code of ethics can also increase confidence in an organization by showing outsiders that members of the organization are committed to following basic ethical guidelines in the course of doing their work.
In Indian media there have been many cases where a serious need for code of ethics has been seen. Freedom of expression or press and responsibilities towards society must have good balance. Government has issued guidelines from time to time for regulating the Broadcasting Services and it is felt necessary to give a statutory effect to these guidelines and provide for a comprehensive legislation.
3.3 Importance of topic as a field of study
The research would be useful in understanding the responsibility of media. It would be help to understand the coverage of these 5 cases very clearly. It would help to analyze why the code of ethics is necessary and where the media went wrong.
This study would provide an overall understanding to the scope and the limitations of media and a serious need for a Code of Ethics in Media.
3.4 Aims and Objective of the Research
(a) To study the changes that have taken place in the news broadcasting pattern of Indian news channels.
(b) To examine whether the entertainment factor is increasing and the news values are decreasing in the Indian news channels
(c) To understand the concept of Bollywoodisation of Indian news channels.
(d) To study the breaking of the standards of profession by Media.
(a) There have been immense changes in the news broadcasting pattern of the Indian news channels.
(b) Entertainment factor is increasing in the news and the news values are decreasing.
(c) There have been bollywoodisation of Indian news chanels.
(d) Media have forgotten its code of ethics and have broken it in some cases.
3.6 Research methodology
This researcher has made use of Qualitative research methodology by analyzing the content of five purposive samples. The study is based on the analysis of the finding of purposive samples.
3.7 Tools of data collection
This researcher used the following tools for data collection for he study: Online surfing This researcher used internet search sites like www.google.com, www.wikipedia.com etc, to trace the history of Public Broadcasting System and the commercialization.
Books and Literatures
Books on the relevant subjects and the literature from the net which are relevant to the subject were analyzed and a content analysis was made on it
3.8 Data processing
A content analysis on the data obtained from various sites and literatures on the various cases selected by the researcher and various findings were obtained from the samples. The researcher studied the finding and made the conclusion out of it. The researcher studied the need of code of ethics in each case.
3.7 Operational definitions
Code of Ethics: A set of rules governing the behavior of members of the organization that has established the Code. Lawyers and real estate brokers/agents both have their own Code.
Data analysis and findings
4.1 List of Cases taken to analyze by the researcher
Following are the cases that the researcher took to understand the need for code of ethics. In each case the law has been breached in some or the other way
(1) Coverage of 26/11 by electronic media
(2) Uma Khurana – Fake Sting Operation.
(3) Celebrities using news channels as a medium to promote themselves
(4) Aarushi Talwar Murder Case
(5) Ruchika Girhotra Case
4.2 Analysis of Coverage of 26/11 by the Media
Source: http:// http://www.media.com
(a) Case history
For 6o hours Mumbai burned with the blaze of terror attacks on 26 November 2008. It was one of the longest terror attacks on the country. In these 6o hours it claimed almost 200 lives as many places of the city went under siege. . And 60 hours, all the Indians, irrespective of their religious or regional identities, were glued to their TV sets. The 2008 Mumbai attacks were more than ten coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai, India‘s largest city, by Muslim terrorists from Pakistan The attacks, which drew widespread condemnation across the world, began on 26 November 2008 and lasted until 29 November, killing at least 173 people and wounding at least 308.
Eight of the attacks occurred in South Mumbai: at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Oberoi Trident the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower .Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital (a women and children’s hospital) the Orthodox Jewish-owned Nariman House the Metro Cinema and a lane behind the Times of India building and St. Xavier’s College There was also an explosion at Mazagaon, in Mumbai’s port area, and in a taxi at Vile Parle By the early morning of 28 November, all sites except for the Taj Hotel had been secured by Mumbai Police and security forces. An action by India’s National Security Guards (NSG) on 29 November (the action is officially named Operation Black Tornado) resulted in the death of the last remaining attackers at the Taj hotel, ending all fighting in the attacks
Ajmal Kasab the only attacker who was captured alive, disclosed that the attackers were members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based militant organization, considered a terrorist organization by India, the United States, and the United Kingdom, among others The Indian Government said that the attackers came from Pakistan, and their controllers were in Pakistan
On 7 January 2009, after more than a month of denying the nationality of the attackers Pakistan’s Information Minister Sherry Rehman officially accepted Ajmal Amir’s nationality as Pakistani. On 12 February 2009, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik, in a televised news briefing, confirmed that parts of the attack had been planned in Pakistan and said that six people, including the alleged mastermind, were being held in connection with the attacks.
(b) Breaching of law
As the terror unfolded on the streets of Mumbai, television channels gave a minute-by-minute coverage of information about the November 2008 attacks, some of which was considered confidential. News reports continually focused on each and every move of the terrorist attacks at Taj and all the other areas of Mumbai. People remained glued to their television sets as the dreadful drama unfolded on television. While brave officers lost their lives, television journalists held microphones before distraught people to know their reactions. Every minute, channels gave ‘live coverage’ about Mumbai’s 26/11 terror attacks. As ‘Breaking News’ flashed across all the television channels, one wondered if it was ‘yet another scoop’! Brave journalists rushed with their cameramen to capture live footage of terrorism in Mumbai
The events were unfolded in detail not only on television but also on many websites. Reports reveal that the Indian Government even had to request the citizens of Mumbai in particular, to avoid giving such live coverage. Questions have been raised about the amount of information to be revealed on television. This is simply because; such channels are accessible to all, including the people who have planned this ghastly terror attack.
Whilst the people of India are still reeling under the aftereffects of the terror attack, the whole situation seems to have given inspiration to filmmakers in India! Indian filmmaker, Ram Gopal Verma has raised quite a few eyebrows with his visit to the site with the then Head of State of Maharastra, Vilasrao Deshmukh. Is this yet another way of thinking and planning about possible hit flicks in sensitive and tragic times like these? Well, the reactions from Bollywood stars have revealed how strongly they condemn his visit. Perhaps Ram Gopal Verma should understand the gravity of the situation and be sensitive towards the people of Mumbai!
(d) Race for TRP’s
According to Indiantelevision.com, ratings of most channels recorded a significant growth due to the live nonstop coverage of the Mumbai siege. NDTV 24×7 got 30 per cent of viewership, thus making it the highest gainer amongst the English channels. Times Now got 28 per cent, while CNN-IBN received 24 per cent ratings during the four day period from November 26 to November 30. Amongst the Hindi channels, Aaj Tak ruled the roost with 23 per cent share of the viewership, while India TV got 21 per cent ratings. Undoubtedly, the channels gained what they desired – TRP’s. But they lost respect in the bargain.
All ethics of journalism took a backseat as reporters strived to outdo each other to grab eyeballs and boost ratings. Concerned viewers who tuned in to get the updates on the vicious massacre had no choice but hear reporters ‘shouting’ out the news as the saga unfolded. Breaking all security cordons, and putting not only theirs but also the lives of other security personnel in jeopardy, members of the media bloated in self importance as their reports went on-air. Reporting live, many journalists spiced up their coverage by speaking in a panic stricken tone, which became ‘the’ formula to catch the viewer’s attention. Many reporters from the Hindi electronic media resorted to stunts like lying on the ground to relay the news, which was clearly unnecessary as their very own camera crew were standing! A reporter from India TV had a close shave when a live grenade exploded barely meters away from where he was reporting. Instead of realising the immense danger he and his other colleagues in the media were in, this reporter became the ‘braveheart’ of India TV as the channel’s scroll aired his bravery and commitment to relay the bit by bit news to the viewers.
(e) Mistakes made by the professionals
Even a senior correspondent like Barkha Dutt of NDTV has drawn flak for her hysterical coverage. Worse, she has been criticized for hyping the tragedy by posing insensitive questions to those affected by the attack. Good journalists never betray their emotions, and are objective. But this was clearly not the case with Barkha Dutt’s reporting. On many occasions, she was about to cry, and many think it was just to capture the public’s sympathy. Even the manner in which she posed her questions to the worried relatives of the hostages standing outside the hotel were quite insensitive. Asking someone ‘how do you feel when you think of your husband stuck inside with the terrorists?’ is just not done.” Subodh Kumar, a professor of Political Science at the University of Delhi told Hardnews.Barkha was rattled by the scathing criticism and was forced respond on ndtv.com, “In the 72 hours that we stood on reporting duty, not once were we asked to move further away.
We often delayed live telecasting of images that we thought were sensitive so as to not compromise the ongoing operation. Not once, were we asked by anyone in authority, to switch our cameras off, or withhold images. Also, every interview of a relative that was aired on any of my shows, was done so with the full consent and participation of the people speaking. In every case, it was their choice to share and to speak. And their voices were in fact the real tragedy and needed to be heard and told.”A serving officer in the Indian Air Force told Hardnews on the condition of anonymity: “Almost all TV cameras zoomed onto a helicopter which was surveying the entire area, and many reporters incorrectly stated that it was being used to intimidate the terrorists.
The media has also been widely criticized for not exercising restraint while giving details of the operations conducted by the forces. There are two theories doing rounds. One is that the terrorists were in constant touch with their masters through blackberry phones, who gave them updates on the positions of the commandos as conveyed by the media. This was backed by the Chief of Navy in a recent press conference. The second theory, propounded by bloggers, many of whom were also eyewitnesses to the siege, is that the terrorists got all the updates through the TV channels themselves, as the cable connections at the Taj had not been disconnected. This, however, is not confirmed officially. Yet, there is no doubt that the TV channels disclosed a lot of crucial information on the strategy employed by the commandos. Also, the positions of the forces on top of the roof were revealed by the over excited reporters, thus taking away the element of surprise vital to any operation.” In a recent press conference, Chief of Navy Admiral Suresh Mehta also blasted the media for their irresponsible reporting. He said, “Do you really have to give minute-by-minute coverage? Media is an enabling instrument, but today it is a disabling instrument.”
While the reporters out there at the scene of action were clearly messing around with public sentiment, the “news readers’ or “anchors” were no better. Arnab Goswami of Times Now, who anchored for virtually the entire 60 hours, could not hide his rage as his voice often quivered with anger at the terror strike. He was short on objectivity and contributed in feeding unnecessary jingoism. Rajdeep Sardesai of CNN-IBN stated on air that there had been fresh rounds of firing at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus on the Mumbai siege. This turned out to be a rumour, but his decision to go on air without get an authoritative corroboration shows him in poor light. Ironically, his bloomer came just a few days after he had taken over as the head of India’s Editor’s guild, an organization devoted to upholding ethics in media. Though he later apologized, many feel that he should have been more responsible
(f) Sensationalism by media
The Hindi TV channels did even worse. India TV aired exclusive interviews with two ‘terrorists’, Shahadullah and Imran Babar, while they were wreaking havoc at the Taj and Nariman House. “Giving free air time and publicity to terrorists is unpardonable. That is precisely what they desire. Giving them their shot at fame only motivates them. To add to that, our anchors asked stupid questions like ‘How many people do you wish to target?’ and ‘From which country are you from?’ As if they would actually confess. The lack of perspective and depth in many of our anchors is shocking.” says Shom Bannerji, a freelancer. Aaj Tak magnified the terror even more as their anchors spoke in a haunting tone. ‘I sincerely feel that this particular tone of voice can also have a considerable impact on the minds of the viewers. Is it really necessary to speak like that? Look at the newsreaders at CNN and BBC. Even during the 9/11 and the London bombings, they remained calm in their composure. They gave out facts, and did not express their own personal opinions. That is journalism.
4.3 Analysis of Uma Khurana case- A fake sting operation.
(a) History of the case
Uma Khurana, a government school teacher who was the victim of a fake sting operation , she was a Mathematics teacher at Sarvodaya Kanya in Delhi, was arrested and roughed up by the public for her alleged involvement in a prostitution racket. Subsequently, she was sacked from the job. The sting operation was conducted by Prakash Singh, a India Live TV Channel reporter. The sting operation showed a schoolgirl who claimed that he was persuaded by Uma Khurana to indulge in prostitution. The telecast of the video on the TV news channels created chaos in Old Delhi’s Daryaganj and nearby areas. The sting operation was aired on August 30. On the basis of the FIR and media coverage, the Delhi government had initially suspended and then terminated her from service. She has been subjected to different kinds of mental agony, strain, harassment, humiliation and earned a bad name in the eyes of the public and society.
The truth behind the sting operation
However, further investigation shocked the police, public and media fraternity of the country. The unedited version of the tapes revealed that Uma Khurana has been framed and there is hardly any truth in the story. The entire drama was conducted by Prakash Singh and Rashmi Singh, who writes for a Hindi newspaper. She posed as a schoolgirl in the sting operation.
After going deep into the matter, the police found that the entire sting operations was conducted on behalf of a businessman who had animosity towards Khurana. He hired Prakash Singh and Prakash took the help of Rashmi to frame Uma Khurana. Both Prakash and Rashmi had been arrested on 15 September.
The Delhi High court issued order to the Delhi Government and the Delhi Police to reply on the authenticity of the sting operation. The initial investigation clearly shows that Uma Khurana has been framed and the charges against her may not be true. The entire episode put a question mark over the honesty and integrity of press in India. It’s painful that some people are doing harm to the dignity and respect of the press for a few bucks.
It is the most recent example of condemnable activity of news channels. According to the find outs of investigation the reporter of ‘Live India’ or ‘Janmat’ (A News Channel) made a conspiracy to trap Uma Khurana due to personal matters. Reporters and his helpers have been put behind the bars and the channel is facing one month ban.
4.4 Analysis on celebrities using news channels to promote their films as well as themselves
From reading news on a TV channel, launching a nationwide hunt for unsung heroes or travelling to different parts of the country in disguise – Bollywood celebrities are leaving no stone unturned to promote their films. The Big B as guest editor on a news channel, a talk show before the release of a film — Bollywood is increasingly sharing space with TV news, often blurring the line in between. Chances are you wouldn’t have heard of a show called Khan Ka Salaam, currently running on the Hindi general entertainment channel Star Plus and aggressively being “covered” by news channel Star News. A show was essentially launched and it was a marketing initiative launched to build a buzz around Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s new film My Name Is Khan.
It involved an event where people across some cities were asked to share their extraordinary love stories, which in turn were woven into a televised show, and culminated on Valentine’s Day when Khan and his lady love from the film, Kajol, will felicitate the winners of the best love story. The effort, however, got buried in the much louder buzz generated by the stand-off between Khan and Shiv Sena over Khan’s remark about the exclusion of Pakistani players from the Indian Premier League. The recent example of such endeavors brings to mind perfectionist Aamir Khan who embarked on a two-week country tour called “Bharat Darshan” in different get-ups as part of his unique way of promoting his latest outing “3 Idiots”.
News channels, in fact, have been more enterprising in integrating Bollywood in their content. Plain-vanilla interviews with film stars are a thing of the past. News channels, these days, race against each other to be the media partners with film producers and this means “exclusive” access to the film content and its stars in exchange for free promotion of the film on the channel in various formats, such as news stories around the film in the regular news bulletins, special shows put together on the film with complete editorial support, interaction with film stars and also, talk shows where sometimes the entire crew of the film is invited.
The most interesting experiment has been of getting big stars to host shows or anchor news bulletins. It began with Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee reading news on NDTV just before the release of their film Bunty Aur Babli, and very recently, Amitabh Bachchan not only anchored the editorial meeting at English news channel CNN-IBN, he also anchored their prime time bulletin where he freely spoke about his soon-to-be released film Rann.
Interestingly, film companies don’t charge television channels for sharing their “content” or stars with them. Likewise, channels don’t charge them anything for promoting their films. It is more of a symbiotic relationship, say industry players.Television is a mass medium with maximum reach across the country that cuts across age and income groups. It is also one of the most expensive platforms to ride for advertisers. A 10-second advertising spot on a general entertainment channel during prime time, for instance, costs anywhere between Rs 50,000 and Rs 2 lakh, depending on the popularity of the channel and the show. A similar spot on an English news channel can set an advertiser back by around Rs 15,000-20,000 and on a Hindi news channel, it would cost anywhere between Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 during primetime.
“Film producers who are always stressed for funds can’t afford to splurge on expensive advertising and that explains why we would give them our content free,” says Prabhakar.
And why television channels easily relent to lend their premium slot to films is because Bollywood content helps them lure eyeballs, which, in return, help to rope in advertisers, the benefactors on whose shoulders their business rests.“It’s a fact that Bollywood content brings in massive GRPs (gross rating points, the currency used to denote the viewership garnered by a particular channel over a period of time) and GRPs is what the advertisers want,” says Anurradha Prasad, chairman and managing director, BAG Films & Media Ltd, the company that runs Hindi news channel News24.
The most attractive aspect of such deals, however, is that the channels get free access to otherwise extremely expensive content and stars. “If invited independently, most big stars will charge several lakhs to maybe a crore to make a small appearance on a channel,” says Navin Shah, managing director, Entertainment Media Communications Solutions Worldwide Pvt Ltd, a Mumbai-based company specialising in film marketing. “Whereas in such deals, they happily oblige.”The TAM analysis, in fact, shows that for 15 per cent of time spent on entertainment-based content, channels got 16 per cent viewership, whereas 13 per cent of politics generated an equal amount of viewership.
“It is an innovative way of giving viewers the content that interests them. We call it VIP or viewer interest programming. You cannot expect channels not to innovate in the current market environment,” says Rajdeep Sardesai, editor-in-chief, CNN-IBN.
The table shows coverage of the film from 29 January to 9 February. The debate received a total of 1,441 minutes on six prominent national channels (CNN-IBN, NDTV 24×7, Star News, Aaj Tak, Zee News and DD News), with daily 20 minutes on average on each channel. Except for DD News, which had eight stories during these 12 days, all other channels gave more than 10% of prime time space to this issue, with news stories, special programmes and discussions. In fact, most channels treated the story as a law and order issue of national prominence.
An analysis by Mumbai-based television audience measurement agency TAM Media Research makes another interesting revelation: English news channels spend more time, or at least spent more time for the period under consideration, on such content than their Hindi counterparts. According to the analysis, in January, English news channels spent 17 per cent of their average news time on films and entertainment-led content, whereas Hindi
Channels devoted only 15 per cent of their time on such content.
4.5 Analysis of Arushi Talwar murder case
(a) History of the case
Aarushi Talwar murder case which tk place in Noida nearly scared everybody. The double murder case was full of mysteries regarding who killed the innocent 14 year old Aarushi Talwar, a student of DPS high school, Noida. The case was covered by media and it was a good thing that they covered it but they hyped the whole issue that was where they went wrong. Without proper information’s and before the decision from the judiciary the media started blaming the parents of the child on a greater extent. They were subjected to humiliation and mental torture by media. Media din not understand that they had just lost their only daughter whose murder was full of mysteries along with the murder of their male servant. Based on pieces of information and some doubts which police had regarding the case media started giving their own decision.
Twist in the case
Where media went wrong?
Source : Times of india
THE DUO murder case in Noida, took a new turn when police arrested Aarushi’s parents. It is alleged that Rajesh Talwar was the murderer of his child. All circumstantial evidences said that Talwar has killed his daughter. Ever since the 14-year-old was murdered, media made sure that no one missed out on the developments. Well media did its job well. People all over Delhi and, people all over India, were glued to the channels, to find out whether the guilty was caught? Whether Aarushi received justice?
Media made sure that people sympathized with the bereaved family. As the investigation of the case by the media progressed, new evidence was brought to light that the deceased child might have had a relation with the servant Hemraj. Taking this into consideration, by the evening, a news channel flashed an explicit video of Aarushi in a compromising situation. The channel claimed that they received an MMS showing the deceased undressing herself. A hand was also visible in the video clip, which was touching her. The video was aired on the channel for nearly an hour.
Now what did media achieve by flashing such a video? Yes, they might have earned the Target Rating Points (TRPs). For a sudden instance, all people must have switched to the channel. Well is it just for TRPs that a news channel works? Where did the duties of a journalist disappear? The entire point of media is to report and reveal the truth. Well that’s what ethics and norms of journalism say. But in flashing such videos of Aarushi did the media help the police in nabbing the guilty?
The video only shows a hand, other than Aarushi. You have the hand of the ‘might be’ guilty. How about now trying to fix it to different bodies and try to find the killer. Technology helps you know. Respect the dead people. The poor girl already suffered a gruesome end. At least, let her rest in peace. The video does not help in any investigations, except bring disgrace to Aarushi’s name.
4.6 Analysis of Ruchika Girhotra case
(a) Case details
Source: Times of India , http://www.wikepedia.com
The Ruchika Girhotra Case involves the molestation of 14 year old Ruchika Girhotra in 1990 by the Inspector General of Police Shambhu Pratap Singh Rathore in Haryana, India. After she made a complaint, the victim, her family, and her friends were systematically harassed by the police leading to her eventual suicide. On December 22, 2009, after 19 years, 40 adjournments, and more than 400 hearings, the court finally pronounced Rathore guilty under Section 354 IPC (molestation) but only sentenced him to six months imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1,000. Nine years after the molestation of Ruchika Girhotra, accused SPS Rathore had told then chief minister of Haryana, Bansi Lal, in 1999 that three chief ministers had “saved” him while his “mala fide intentions had led to the passing of adverse order by the high court against him”. Rathore had also charged Bansi Lal of colluding with Madhu Anand, family friend of Ruchika who helped them fight the case
TOI is in possession of a copy of the letter — dated August 9, 1999 — Rathore wrote to then financial commissioner (home) and asserted as much. In the letter, sent 17 days after the Bansi Lal-led government was succeeded by that of Om Prakash Chautala in Haryana, he accused the Haryana Vikas Party satrap of colluding with the complainant, Madhu Prakash. A family friend of the Girhotras, Madhu Prakash was fighting for justice for Ruchika Girhotra.
Chautala became the chief minister on July 23, 1999. Nine years earlier, then DGP RR Singh had recommended an FIR against Rathore.Madhu had approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court when no action was taken against him. On August 31, 1998, the court had ordered the registration of an FIR on the basis of an inquiry report. Rathore, though, had challenged the order in Supreme Court, saying RR Singh had history of “strained” relations with him.
“The inquiry report was examined by three successive governments but inquiry officer’s recommendation for registration of criminal case was not accepted. The government, on account of personal malafide of then chief minister Bansi Lal and home secretary KG Verma, colluded with Madhu Anand and concealed the true facts in their replies filed before the high court. This malafide action of the state government led to the passing of an adverse order by the high court against me,” Rathore alleged in the communication
The accused in the Ruchika case – against whom fresh and more serious charges are to be laid – had claimed that he has become the victim of a trial by media. This is not entirely true. When the accused, S P S Rathore, walked, smiling, out of the court which had barely given him a rap on the knuckles for his infamous actions – both in committing the original crime and in using his power to silence the victim’s family – the images that the media flashed of his superiority and triumphant expression led to an chaos in Parliament. This made it lawful news for the media to focus on, creating a escalating effect.
But beyond the emotionalism and the outrage there is a larger set of questions that need to be addressed. If our investigative and law enforcement agencies – the police, the CBI, and others – and our judiciary repeatedly fail to get justice done (as in the Jessica Lall case, in the Aarushi case, and so many others), who is going to fill this vacuum, who is to correct such gross and repugnant miscarriages of justice?
In a free society – as ours is supposed to be – the answer must be the media. Which in turn really means public opinion? Media can – and do – help to shape public opinion; but they cannot create it out of nothing. If the public, by and large, were not sympathetic to the tragic fate of Ruchika (or Jessica, or Aarushi, and all the others) no amount of media hype would have worked. The media do not create news; they reflect them.
When our legislators failed to deliver on a number of issues – including emission norms for automotive vehicles – the judiciary stepped in to fill the void. A vigilante is someone who – in the real or perceived absence of effective law enforcement – takes the law into his own hands. While such vigilantism can find popular support for a while – as judicial activism did – it also raises questions about the long-term dangers of short-circuiting established systems. Vigilantism – of any form – can at best only be a stop-gap response; it cannot become a permanent system without destroying the basic nature of our polity.
The judiciary cannot take over the legislators’ job of making laws, or the executive’s job of implementing these laws. If the judiciary did this, it would overstep the bounds set for it by our Constitution, and we would have a dictatorship of the courtrooms.
Similarly, the media cannot, and ought not, seek to, or be forced to, take over the job of the law enforcement agencies and of the judiciary in ensuring that criminal acts are suitably punished. It is not the media’s job to ensure that criminals are brought to book; it is the job of the police and of the judges. If they surrender their duty to the media; we would end up with a dictatorship by the media.
While all of us want justice for Ruchika – and for other victims of injustice – none of us would like to create a Frankenstein’s monster out of the media. A monster which is a law unto itself, and which could one day turn against any one of us
As the Ruchika molestation case fuelled a debate whether there is media hype, the judge who rejected the anticipatory bail of Haryana’s ex-DGP SPS Rathore says the role and importance of the media “cannot be denied or undermined” though sometimes it “oversteps its limits.”
Additional District and Sessions Judge Sanjiv Jindal made this observation while taking note of Rathore’s lawyer-wife Abha’s stinging attack against the media during court arguments for conducting a trial of the 67-year-old former top cop and allegedly putting pressure on authorities.
“It is also worth mentioning here that during the course of arguments, the counsel for the accused (Abha Rathore) also lambasted the media by saying that the media has assumed the role of prosecutor and judge as well and wants to publicly hang the applicant-accused (Rathore),” he said.
Jindal while mentioning that sometimes the media “oversteps its limits” and becomes extreme pro-active in highlighting the things “without going to the root merits thereof”, however had a word of praise for the media.
“As a fourth pillar of the democracy, the role and importance of the media cannot be denied or undermined and further that in certain other cases, the media has come to the forefront to aid and help the most deprived and down-trodden segments of the society in a bid to save/protect them from the atrocities and high handedness of the system of the country and in order to secure justice for them,” he remarked.
He also observed that the “judicial system of this country and the courts of law established there under, in the past have not been swayed by the media hype nor they would be swayed in future by any media consideration as the courts of law have been and would keep on discharging their duties in accordance with law strictly on the merits of each and every case”.
Here the researcher talked only about TV news channels because private radio channels have no permission to broadcast news and current affair programmes. At present we have about 30 Indian news channels in different languages and there is a war of TRP (Television Rating Point) among them. TRP is linked with advertisement revenue directly, the only source of income for the most of news channels. Thus the war of TRP is just a war of profit, profit and only more profit. News channels have broken all the ethical, professional and social limits to win this TRP race. Here the researcher took few examples of the irresponsible behavior of these channels the researcher attempted to find out the need of code of ethics in Indian media.
5.2 Research Methodology:
The researcher made use of qualitative research methodology by selecting purposive samples and analyzing them. Five samples were selected by the researcher and it was analyzed on the basis of the law was breached in each case and studying those samples the researcher has tried to understand a serious need foe code of ethics in Indian news channels. The researcher used internet as a tool of data collection. Articles were picked from various sites and they were analyzed. Also the researcher went through various online news papers to get the findings of the cases.
5.3: Assumptions tested:
The assumptions of the study were as follows
(a)There have been immense changes in the news broadcasting pattern of the Indian news channels.
This assumption has proved to be right. Taking the 26/11 coverage in consideration Media can be a powerful tool to help people in a time like this. Media plays an important role when it comes to asking for help for the needy, flashing news about the status of the rescued people and such issues that can help improve the situation or help people in need. However, giving a minute-by-minute coverage about important activities by the security services is surely not a wise move and can never be justified.
(b) Entertainment factor is increasing in the news and the news values are decreasing.
This assumption is correct as Integration of film content into TV programming is an innovative way of achieving a two-pronged objective—creating interesting content for television viewers and giving the films a much-needed publicity at a scale and in an environment they can’t reach on their own. According to a study by Delhi-based advocacy group Centre for Media Studies, national news channels such as Aaj Tak, Star News, CNN-IBN, NDTV 24X7, DD News and Zee News devoted more than 10 per cent of their total news time on films and entertainment-led content in 2009. This percentage would be higher if DD News, which has comparatively limited content of this variety, is pulled out.
(c) There have been bollywoodisation of Indian news channels.
This assumption proved correct as the celebrities using news channels as a medium to promote themselves is increasing.
(d) Media have forgotten its code of ethics and have broken it in some cases.
Analyzing the Uma Khurana case this assumptions proved to be right. To avoid falling into the trap of the sting operations it needs a code of conduct. Sting operations are completely justified and are right to do if they are carried out with a proper protocol. In recent times, the role of the media has been questioned in several cases. Ever since the sting operations came into picture, some journalists have been trying to exploit and manipulate the truth in order to gain mileage or money. In Aarushi murder case media exploited the parent’s without any proper information’s and thus tried to play the role of judiciary which was not necessary.
(a) 26/11 coverage by media
- · It was good that media covered the issue so that it can reach to the people but the issue was sensationalized by the media
- · The ethics of journalism was forgotten as the reporters strived to outdo each other to grab the attentions from the audiences and boost ratings.
- · Breaking all security concerns, and putting not only theirs but also the lives of other security personnel in danger, members of the media overfed themselves in self importance as their reports went on-air.
- · Many reports belonging to Hindi news channels were found lying on the ground and reporting which was totally unnecessary as their own cameraman were standing.
- · Many media professionals like Barkha Dutt were found asking insensitive questions to the relatives of the one held hostage inside various places.
- · The media was giving information’s about the live operations performed by the commandos.
(b) Uma Khurana – Fake sting operation
- · It was a fake sting operation conducted on Uma Khurana by Live india news channel on a teacher of sarvoday kanya school, Delhi
- · The investigation was conducted by Prakash Singh, a reporter from live india news channel
- · Rashmi Singh , a journalist who writes for hindi news paper had helped him in performing this fake sting operation.
- · In the unedited version of the tapes the truth was revealed.
- · Both Prakash Singh and Rahmi Singh were arrested and sent to juducial custody.
- · School teacher Uma Khurana, who was let off by police after a fake TV sting operation showed her running an alleged sex racket, filed a defamation case against the channel and its CEO.
- · . she suffered mental torture and humiliation due to this fake sting operaton by a news channel.
(c) Celebrities using news channels as a medium to promote themselves and their films.
- · Bollywood celebrities now days have started using even the news channels as a medium to promote themselves and their films.
- · Eg- Amitabh Bacchan , Shahrukh Khan , Salman Khan , Aamir Khan , Rani Mukherjee etc
- · News channels forgetting their ethics are spending a larger time slots on such entertainment factors.
(d) Aarushi murder case
- · The case of murder of 14 year old Aarushi talwar , a student of DPS high school, Noida was sensationalised by media on a greater extent
- · The media tried playing the role of judiciary and started giving its own opinions regarding Aarushi’s parents
- · Media portrayed the parents of the child guilty and due to it the parents had to face mental torture and humiliation
- · Some things related to Aarushi like a tape showing her in a compromising position was played again and again on news channels
- · The coverage of Aarushi case was more for attracting the audiences for TRP’s and not the news values.
(e) Ruchika case
- · Ruchika Girhotra was a 14 year old victim of sexual molestation due to which she committed suicide.
- · It was a case of Media trial which was Sensationalized by the medias
- · The case was over hyped by the media.
Analyzing all this cases the researcher feels a serious need on code of ethics in Indian Media. Media does play a positive role in our society but sometimes it forgets its limits and oversteps its own limits. We have approximately 47 news channels in different languages and there is a war of TRP’s between them. TRP is linked with advertisement revenue directly, the only source of income for the most of news channels. Thus the war of TRP is just a war of profit, profit and only more profit. News channels have broken all the ethical, professional and social limits to win this TRP race. in every case the law was breached by media in some or the other way.
Electronic media has specially news media has registered a strong protest against any code of conduct made by the government – if that is the case let it be self regulatory code of conduct for them but a code of conduct is necessary which they need to follow.
There is a need to have dialogue between the electronic media, with the government, police, political parties and local communities to understand the boundaries within which they need to function and understand the sensitivities and concerns of all concerned and then try to work out codes of conduct and restrains that can be imposed on all concerned including the media.
According to our constitution we have freedom of speech and expression but efforts must be made to reach as near the truth as possible.
About the sting operations carried out by News Media, it have become a source for higher TRPs more than the principle on which they are conducted in the first place. The channels may defend their stand under the guise of investigative journalism, and no can explain the loose ends nearly all the sting operations seem to leave behind.
The research is not specific due to limited time and money
More examples could have been taken but that would have led in to volumes so only few purposive samples have been taken