Odisha: Corporate media a boon or bane for democracy

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Bhubaneswar: The media industry is in an incredibly challenging period at the moment. Not only is it faced with huge levels of digital disruption, but the fallout of the political and financial crises of recent years and entry of corporate players have led to a historic low in public trust in the media. The tremendous growth of information superhighway has opened countless new channels and newspapers for media, but only a very few opportunities for control of those channels, said Resident Editor of English daily Business Standard Dilip Satpathy here on Friday.
Speaking at a seminar on “Corporate Media: A Threat to Democracy” organised by Institute of Media Studies (IMS) on its campus here, Satpathy said a proper distance should be maintained between board room and news room while stress may be given on content-driven editorial policy. So that independent views and pro-people issues get adequate space in the media. Though corporate houses are adopting a media wing to support their business, it should not mobilize public opinion in favour of it. He discussed the dangers of corporate media monopoly to democratic culture.
Senior Journalist Sandeep Sahu said after liberalization of economy in 1991, investments flooded into media sector from private companies and over the years, the independent editorial policy has been replaced with marketing policy of the organization. Profit motive of media houses has led to a serious threat to democratic values of the country, he said. Expressing concern over the issue, he said now social media is the alternative option to check such media monopoly.
Talking of commercialisation, chief operating officer (COO) of Odia daily Samay Rakesh Mohanty said cigarettes and soft drinks have reached the remotest villages, while clean drinking water and electricity have not. With modern technology, reality is being manufactured. People are manipulated into believing something, he said.
Among others, Deputy Chief Editor of Kalinga TV and Director of IMS Prof Upendra Padhi also spoke. The house journal of the institute ‘The Mass Com Dot’ was also released on the occasion.

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