GUWAHATI, July 27 – Noted journalist Paranjay Guha Thakurta on Thursday made a strong plea for an independent regulatory body with punitive power, in line with the Ofcom (Office of Communication), for regulating the media in the country.
Addressing the Guest of the Month programme at the Guwahati Press Club here, he said the country has over 700 TV channels today and this is a haphazard growth. It is the duty of the journalists to choose as to what they want to be in terms of quality.
But it must be remembered by each and everybody in the media that he or she is a human being first of all, he said.
Commenting on the July 9 GS Road incident, he described journalist Gaurav Jyoti Neog’s act of shooting the incident for over 30 minutes as totally unethical. Equally irresponsible was the act of his editor, Guha Thakurta said.
He told the gathering that the debate on the ethics of the media was on since the 17th century and it is very essential for the Indian media to initiate a constructive debate on the issue.
Commenting on regulating the media, he said though self-regulation is a better option, it fails finally in delivering the goods. However, the quasi-judicial forums like the Press Council of India is a meaningless entity as it does not have any tooth in matters of tackling the wrong doers.
He also described the TRP system applied for assessing the popularity of the TV channels as meaningless. Because, he said, the country has at the most 20,000 devices to assess the viewers’ number. And that too, they are located in the urban areas only. This has made the rural folk totally absent in this area and hence their interests are totally ignored by the TV channels.
On occasions, TV channels are found to be serving the interest of the corporate houses and rendering less service to journalism, he said.
Earlier he took part in a media workshop on ethical journalism at the Press Club as a resource person.