Monday, 2 June 2014

Buying out the Fourth Estate

Today, a lot of media has come under the power of industrialists. It’s not just a lot, but a major portion I believe. Large corporations are buying off small newspapers, television channels, websites or head hunting their best employees to work for their media subsidiaries.

Image Courtesy: Google Images.

It seems all the varied media houses, all the options in the media that we had are being collected under a few big banners who mean to take control of what is viewed by the populace, not only in India but round the world. It is of course in the interests of these oil barons, telecommunication tycoons and entertainment giants to buy out or control a majority shareholding in news outlets.

It is not hard even for a layman to understand what kind of manipulation of the news can take place once the channel or channels are in direct control of their new boss; Positive publicity, doses of advertising, hiding unfavourable news and sensationalizing the news to increase viewership and thereby, revenue.

Image Courtesy: Google Images.

Assuming that those who start news outlets in the form of newspapers, television channels and news websites do so with a view of upholding the true spirit of journalism, we can see what happens after they are bought out by these selfish and to an extent, parasitic corporations who then manage to pocket truckloads of cash by just giving the public the show they want, and not anything substantial.

Journalism, ever since it got pulled into the race for giants trying to control the media, has become a difficult job. Trying to publish a substantial news story becomes as much of a job as getting the story especially if the story is about something that concerns the other subsidiary company held by the parent company which also happens to be a major shareholder of your media house. It can also be difficult in case the story is about that minister or officer or public figure whose campaign is funded by the corporation that owns your media house. Well, if it positive news, it will probably run the whole day but if it is even slightly negative, it goes against the policies of the newspaper or channel. Clear out the story or clear out your desk.

Image Courtesy: Google Images.

Another disastrous downside of these mergers and buyouts in the media is that large corporate now own many channels and publications under a single roof. If one of them does not bring in as much revenue as the rest, it will either be shut down or downsized to cut losses. It is because of this very same reason that sensationalism has become a big part of the media today. Ridiculous things are hyped, people are made to shout at each other, anchors try to grab the limelight and in the middle of all of this, the substantial news is loss in the echoes of those trying to get it out over the cacophony of all the garbage that occupies our screens.

With the latest buyout of those who claim to be ‘18 till they die’, here’s hoping that this media house doesn't change its colour from Red to Saffron.

Here is a video that will help you understand what is happening to the Indian media, albeit from a foreign perspective: Indian Media has never had it so Bad

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