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This paper analyses the need of ethics in the media today. It tries to explore how the media is being politically and financially driven and how the media forgets its responsibility towards society in its race to get high TRPs. The paper brings out the ethical questions raised in different fields of the media. It also highlights how the media moves away from its primary role, how important are ethics in media, how do media maintain their ethics and what happens when media stops focusing on ethics and its social responsibility. Through this paper I wish to make each individual aware of the role each of us plays in the media.
INDIAN MEDIA- ITS SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS
While dealing with the media, the answer of questions of ethics and social responsibility are ambiguous and rarely clear cut. The entire topic hinges on the question of what is right or wrong, good or bad, acceptable or not. In today’s world, media, be it the numerous newspapers, uncountable radio stations, or the endless television channels have become an intrinsic part of an individuals’ everyday life. As our world progresses and moves forward there are countless new avenues that open for the media. Therefore, the media now plays a major role in keeping one informed, updated and at the same time, entertained!
According to the uses and gratification model, many of an individuals’ psychological needs are met up by the media. So, no doubt, the media has the capacity to hold us in awe and hence keep us hooked on to it. But however, ethical questions about the responsibility of the media towards society are now being raised.
HOW ETHICAL IS THE MEDIA?
As the scope of media influence expands, ethics become increasingly important. Although the media is advancing and is able to almost ‘do the impossible’, care should be taken to do this under a code of certain ethics. The media influences everyone’s lives… good enough… as long as this happens ethically. As the media develops, it tends to move away from the ethics it is expected to follow.
1) ETHICS IN JOURNALISM
News reporting which should be driven by nothing else but the truth, is now driven more and more by the free market. According to Ben Hecht, ‘trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers, is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of the clock.’ This means that nothing is definite and clear cut in journalism. The major role of journalism should be to benefit the public by keeping them updated with the truth. But however, the reporting we see now in the newspapers, is nothing but the manipulated truth.
Journalism is complicated now a days, either they tell us too little, or they tell us too much. In the case of sting journalism, for example, the Shekhar Sanam case, raises the question of how much is the media allowed to expose? Another such case is the Cash and Vote case covered by CNN IBN in 2009 during the elections. Is it right to expose people to such an extent? The media digs into people’s personal lives, not for the sake of knowing the truth, but just to get an ‘out of the normal’ cover page story and hence increase circulation.
To what extent are our reporters willing to go today just to get a good story? It seems like news reporting no longer cares about ethics or social responsibility. Most newspapers now are financially and politically driven. And hence, what the reader gets is just the truth bent in favour of some politician or perhaps some really rich business man, who can pay enough to change the truth. And this modified version of the truth is what we read every morning, with our hot cup of coffee! This is state of journalism today. It’s sad, but it’s the truth.
2) ETHICS IN CINEMA
The cinema is nothing like it used to be in the yesteryears....