Delayed airing of TV cash-for-vote sting raises questions:Survey

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New Delhi, Sep 14 (UNI) Parameters adopted by CNN-IBN in conducting a 'sting operation' at the initiative of BJP MPs on 'Confidence Motion' episode in Parliament on 22 July this year were to some extent 'genuine' but its delayed and unannounced airing by the channel has raised a question mark on the credibility of media, said a majority of mediapersons in a recent survey on the issue.

In the survey conducted by 'Media Study Group', a non-commercial group of progressive journalists, as many as 83.05 per cent mediapersons said the manner of airing the sting operation by the channel had created suspicion among viewers.

And 79.66 per cent of journalists who responded to the survey believed that "the channel was under pressure for not airing the CD(of the sting operation)".

The Media Study Group (MSG) started the survey on August 20, 2008, by posting a questionnaire to 1000 mediapersons through e-mail. Sixty of them, with a majority having more than 11 years of experience in journalism, responded to the survey conducted by Mr Anil Chamadia, a senior journalist associated with Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) and reserach student Devashish Prasoon. Among the respondents, 23 mediapersons were working with TV channels.

Earlier, the MSG conducted a survey on the social background of top 10 mediapersons in 40 national media organisations which took the media circles by storm in 2006. This group also conducted a survey on 'brain-drain' in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) that produces country's top doctors. Also, it did a survey on 'bad treatment' to Indian languages in Parliament reports and exhibited the samples at Press Club of India.

The survey enlisted a majority of electronic mediapersons saying that parameters adopted in the CNN-IBN sting operation were up to the mark but as many as 56.52 per cent of them did not agree with the 'excuses' made by the channel for delayed airing of the CD on 11 August. A majority of respondents from electronic media said the channel was under political pressure not to telecast the CD which, inadvertently, affected the credibility of the media adversely.

A majority of respondents viewed that such type of incidents in media were ''not free from the influence of market forces'' but they opposed the BJP's decision to boycott the channel.

Similarly, a majority of respondent journalists felt that the channel should have telecast the CD immediately as it had assured the BJP MPs and the delay had 'diluted' the relations between media and the "sources". As many as 73.69 per cent respondents, a majority whom were print journalists, observed that airing of the 'sting-operation' should not have been delayed at all.

UNI/JSS AM HT1200

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