Anurag Thakur poses the greatest threat to mainstream media: mainstream channels

In announcing that mainstream channels are”the “biggest threat” to the mainstream media, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur has said that real journalism is “reporting the news without fabrication” and providing a platform for “all sides to present their views”.

At a meeting at an event organised by the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) in New Delhi on Monday, Thakur stated that news channels face an increased risk of losing their credibility when they invite guest speakers who have a history of “polarising” and “spreading false narratives”.

“Are you going to show visuals that grab eyeballs and inflame anger or show restraint and project visuals in context to showcase the full picture?” Thakur stated in his speech, pointing out that broadcasters have to make an array of options that will determine how to change the way they present content in news broadcasts.

He began his talk regarding the current condition of news broadcasts by stating that the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown the media into a bind, but also provided opportunities to not only redefine journalism but redefine the role of the media as a reliable source of information and news.

“Real Journalism is all about confronting the facts, telling the truth, and allowing everyone to have the chance to share their views. My personal view is that the greatest threat to mainstream media isn’t the new age digital platforms, but the traditional media channel itself. If you are able to bring in guests who have polarising views and spread false information or shout in the highest of high-pitched voices The credibility of your channels is eroded,” Thakur said.

The choices that decide the guest, tone, and presentation of a show establish the credibility of the channel to the audience, Thakur said, suggesting that provocative shows can help attract attention, but in the end, the viewers “will never trust your anchor, your channel or brand as a trusted and transparent source of news”.

“So my question for broadcasters in this room today is Do you plan to watch the story being described by soundbites, or do you decide to establish your own guidelines for guests and channels? Do you plan to watch the younger audience as it changes and moves through the shrill of the TV news or do you plan to restore neutrality in the news and discussions during debates in order to stay at the forefront of the competition? Are you planning to present pictures that attract attention and provoke anger or display control and show images with the context in order to present the whole of the picture?” Thakur said.

The minister stressed the need to maintain the integrity of journalism instead of abandoning ethics in the face of intense competition. “I strongly believe that journalists are duty-bound to report the news without fabrication, despite temptations to compete with those who propagate false news,” he said.

In an announcement in statement, The Ministry for Information and Broadcasting stated that at the time of the event, Thakur also presided over the award presentation ceremony.

“The Appreciation Award for 2021 was presented to Radio Television Brunei. Its Appreciation Award to 2022 will be shared between both the Ministry of Economy, Civil Service, Communications, Housing and Community Development, Republic of Fiji, and Fiji Broadcasting Corporation,” it said.

It was established in 1977. AIBD is an inter-governmental organization that serves countries belonging to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP) in the area of the development of electronic media. It is administered by Malaysia’s government. Malaysia and the Secretariat have their headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.

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