Wednesday, May 18, 2011

'Janvani to Janta ki vani'-Seminar by The Sunday Indian Magazine

Arindam Chaudhuri: We need Hazare's leadership

On Saturday afternoon, at the Kamani auditorium the who’s who of the Indian media industry got together to discuss the state of the media. While senior journalists of Delhi justified the present role of the media, they did not shirk from pointing its shortcomings and stressing the need for introspection.

The occasion was a seminar organized jointly by Planman Media Group’s magazine, The Sunday Indian and The Times Foundation. The seminar was titled “Janvani to Janta ki vani”.
Inaugurated by senior journalist Prabhu Chawla, the seminar was kicked off by the The Sunday Indian’s Editor-in-Chief and management guru Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri asking whether the media really represented the voice of the people. Chaudhuri said that this was the time for introspection as we seemed to have lost our path. He said it was the time to rise on the occasion rather than shirk from our responsibilities.

Presided over by Achutanand Mishra, the seminar had some prominent names on the panel, including Director General of Doordarshan Leeladhar Mandloi, group editor of Aaj Samaj Rahul Dev, Consulting Editor of Amar Ujala Ajay Upadhyay, Managing Editor of IBN 7 Ashutosh, Director of Times Foundation Puran Chand Pandey, Zee news anchor Purna Prasoon Vajpayee, President of Sadhna News Channel and General Secretary of Broadcast Editors’ Association NK Singh, Managing Editor of India News Kurbaan Ali, Officiating Editor of NDTV Sanjay Ahirwal, chief of News Express Channel Mukesh Kumar, senior writer and and programming head of Channel P7 Sharad Dutt, former chief producer of Doordarshan Kuber Dutt and writer and media critic Vartika Nanda.

Welcoming the guests, the Managing Editor of The Sunday Indian, Sutanu Guru said that media is for the people and it is responsible to the people, so it cannot shy away from its responsibility towards the people.

In his presidential address, Achutanand Mishra said that in India, media has come down to its lowest level and it is time to restore its influence and strength. Mishra said that in a democracy, media should not succumb to the pressures of the market.

The Managing Editor of IBN-7, Ashutosh said that India is changing, and in this process of change, media too is changing and this change is positive so there is no need to shed tears over it. Admitting that between n 2004-05 and in 2009, some activities of the media were blots on its character but it had since regenerated itself. Ashutosh said that in those corers of the world, where the media is strong, situations can never become like that in Egypt. The media had played a role in keeping the morale of the people.

The Group Editor of Aaj Samaj, Rahul Dev said that the media is under pressure from the market and the media does not have the strength to fight it out. So, not much can be expected from it. It is time to free the media from the pressures of the market and there is hope for it.
The Consultant Editor of Amar Ujala, Ajay Upadhay, said that the Indian media does not cross over its boundaries and it is balanced. He said that whether the media is the fourth pillar of democracy or not is to be debated afresh. There have always been questions about whether the media is the voice of the people but it does offer people a platform a vent their concerns.
Senior Journalist Punya Prasun Vajpayee said that today the media decides its direction according to the mathematics of profit and loss. And for this, media alone cannot be held responsible. The whole system is to be blamed for this. He said that under such circumstances, morality is only to be mentioned, not applied.

The General Secretary of the Broadcasting Editor’s Association, N K Singh said that the TAM meters are installed in only those places, where you have money and these are the places that decide the direction and path of a news channel. He said that unless channels get free from the shackles of TRPs, the cause of the people will remain sidelined and marginalised. He expressed confidence that within two years media content would improve dramatically.

The Managing Editor of India News, Qurban Ali, said that the country is not dependent on the media very much. The people of the nation are quite awakened and had exhibited maturity by rejecting NDA’s ‘Feel Good’ and ‘India Shining’ slogans and maintaining nationwide peace after the Ayodhya verdict. And the media did not play any role in it. And therefore it is time the media takes care of its responsibilities.

NDTV’s Executive Editor Sanjay Ahirwal said that the news channels will now have to pay attention to content, else the nation will reject them. There has to be a middle path between the pressures of the market and morality.

Senior journalist Zafar Agha said that since the TRP decides the channels’s move, the question now that needs to be asked is whether journalism itself has lost its meaning.

The discussion was steered by Onkareshwar Pandey, managing editor of The Sunday Indian’s Bhojpuri and Hindi editions and the managing president of the Broadcasters’ Club of India.
Before the close of the seminar Prof Arindam Choudhary summarized the main points of the discussion and thanked the invitees for their valuable inputs. He also thanked the head of the Times Foundation Puran Pandey. The close of the ceremony saw all attendees receivig momentos from Prof Choudhary and Pandey.

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