TV news becomes mere theatrics, say experts

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Bhubaneswar: Media houses are a loss making industry. Being dependent on the Government establishments or public sector undertakings for revenue, they are forced to compromise on content, said senior journalist Sandeep Mishra here on Tuesday.

Addressing a seminar on “Television Interview: Question or Not to Question” organised by Institute of Media Studies (IMS), Mishra said arm-twisting in media is a common trend to change story peg in news in the favour of those in power. While TV news has become noise and mere theatrics, news channels have turned into infotainment mediums. Prime time news turned into a circus, he added.

Speaking on free-press, Mishra said media freedom is at stake. Anyone who disagreed with the government was anti-national and guilty of treason. He called upon the media, which prided themselves for their freedom, to introspect whether they are actually independent in reality. Journalists face the disconcerting prospect of being increasingly controlled by capitalist forces who sought to further their vested interests, he said.

Marking a significant shift in their style of functioning, media outlets had been reduced to entities that merely conveyed information without highlighting their underlying aspects. In effect, the freedom enjoyed by journalists had been confined to the boundaries set by influential sections, he added.

He also encouraged the students to be fearless in their endeavors in future as threats are part of professional hazard in any profession.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the lack of freedom for journalists, popular anchor of Odia TV channels Gayatri Mohanty said pressure is being built up on media professionals owing to corporatisation of the industry and entry of political parties into the sector. She cautioned against the neglect of ethics against the backdrop of the highly competitive media environment. Several unhealthy tendencies have crept into the functioning of the media in recent times, she added.

“While research or home work is the prime task of an anchor before going air, important parameters including self-control and presence of mind are keys to successful interview,” she said. Sharing her long experience on TV anchoring, she stressed on self-censorship and honing creative skills for aspiring journalists.

Director of IMS Prof. Upendra Padhi asked students to learn the art of TV interviewing and art of self-restraint in order to perform better in the sector.

Course coordinator of MJMC department Manoranjan Panda also spoke. Among others, faculties of IMS Dr Gayatri Patnaik, Raghunath Mandal, Debasis Nayak and Suchismita Mishra were present.

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