Languages media to become stronger in near future, Seminar

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Mumbai, Mar 25 (UNI) Indian languages media is bound to become stronger in the near future with society moving away from the colonial bias in favour of English as exemplified by the ''Dhoni effect''.

This was the consensus opinion among a panel of eminent media personalities at a session on ''Resurgence of Language Media'' on the opening day of FICCI-FRAMES, the annual convention on the business of Indian entertainment and media industry, here today. Dainik Jagran Chief Executive Officer and Editor Sanjay Gupta said the English media had complete dominance till 20 years ago as policy makers were in its favour. The situation has dramatically changed since then and now the Indian languages media has gained comparatively greater importance in every sense.

The country was developing in such a fashion that metropolitan cities were facing stagnation while smaller towns were growing rapidly, he said, adding that with this the language media was also bound to play a dominant role.

Referring to the meteoric rise of India's one-day Cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Mr Gupta said the entire country is now in the grip of what is called the ''Dhoni effect''.

Loksatta Editor Kumar Ketkar said with the polity of the country now being determined more by the regional and local factors, the language media has a greater role to play.

Mathrubhoomi Chairman and Managing Director M P Virendra Kumar also echoed the same opinion. CNC-Awaz Editor Sanjay Pugalia said the language media will have a complete sway in the next five years.

Meanwhile, a panel of Indian and foreign media personalities at another FICCI-FRAMES session on ''Changing Face of Television News in India'' were in agreement at when news degenerates into entertainment, credibility of the concerned journalists and their TV channel is the first casualty.

The panelists -- TV Today Network CEO G Krishnan, NDTV India Executive Editor Sanjay Ahirwal, CNN Correspondent Satinder Bindra, Sahara Samay Vice President Rajiv K Bajaj and Jill Grinda, Director, Worldwide Distribution, Euronews -- shepherded by NDTV Associate Editor Vishnu Som put their thinking caps on to debate what's news and what's entertainment.

Mr Krishnan pointed out that today hard breaking news coexists with ''tabloid'' coverage on television. He highlighted the 4 C's of news television -- cricket, cinema, comedy and crime -- where ''fun'' seems to be the only guiding factor for grabbing eyeballs. There is, however, space for both hard news and pure entertainment on TV networks and space for all channels to compete, he added.

Mr Ahirwal said TV newsgathering is expensive business. Whether it is reportage of the Kargil war or the welcome accorded by Bhutan to democracy yesterday, the bottomline is that most of the networks are not ready to spend the amounts required for journalists to reach out to remote places. At the end of the day, he said people want honest journalism, which most prime time networks seem unable to offer.

Mr Bajaj spoke of the paradigm shift in the way news is perceived during the last five or six years. Citing the example of the story of ''Prince'', the evacuation of a little boy from a borewell by the Indian army troops, and the evacuation of 4 lakh Indians from Beirut by Indian naval ships, Mr Bajaj said the former grabbed the eyeballs while the latter went almost unreported.

The truth, he said, was that with the onset of prosperity, the aspirational effect had come into play. People want to be titillated and want to know what affects them most, he pointed out.

Mr Bindra said news has to be informative, educational and inspirational to goad the authorities into thinking and action, with credibility being sacrosanct. Journalists, he said, have to exercise news judgement and in this context, wondered whether there was need now for a news ombudsman to guide the decision of how to report in a dispassionate and objective manner.

Ms Grinda said Euronews, Europe premier TV news network, presents unfiltered news to its viewers, leaving it to them to form their own judgements.

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