Today is being celebrated as “The International Media Ethics Day”, for the very first time. The Center for International Media Ethics – CIME is celebrating the day in 12 countries by holding workshops and conferences. It is also offering several online ways to participate in the event. According to CIME; the aim of the Media Ethics Day is to mobilize the journalism community and provide journalists around the world with an opportunity to discuss media ethics issues, examine case studies, and participate in role-plays and debates related to the various ethical dilemmas they might face on the job.
India is not among these countries; though it has the most unethical journalists and media houses and needs to be educated. I have checked up today’s news and find that the Indian print and electronic media is least interested in this important event pertaining to their business. While rest of the world is agog with large scale participation, coverage and blogging on Media Ethics, most of our print and electronic media is as usual busy with biased, distorted and specific-agenda news and programs.
In the last few years the media industry has expanded all over the country and perhaps more so in Andhra Pradesh. Except for a minority of Newspapers and TV Channels, most of these media houses serve the interests of some political person or party, glorifying them constantly and criticizing everyone else. Gossip, vulgarity, crime and sensationalism of cheap stories are headlines. And important, useful, current and correct news takes the backstage or is missing. For instance the ongoing 12-day old General Strike – ‘Sakala Janula Samme’ and the overall political situation in Telangana is covered differently by different media agencies to suit their interests and unfortunately create confusion and controversies. Most of these media houses perhaps have no codes of ethics, standards or principles like truthfulness, accuracy, accountability, objectivity, fairness, and impartiality. In such a misleading situation created by the media it is not possible for us to get correct information on most subjects. We may read or hear more than two sources of news; pertaining to a particular subject and still remain confused or come to our own conclusions!