Paid news may be regulated, fears bureaucrat

PTI, PANAJI | 03 May 2010 21:20 IST

The advent of paid news syndrome may build up a public pressure forcing the Centre to regulate the trend, a senior Goa government official said here today.

"Because of paid news tendency, there has been a dent in the credibility of the media. If this tendency continues, there may be public pressure forcing the government to regulate such kind of tendencies. If that happens it will be a 'Black Day'," acting chief secretary Narendra Kumar said.

Kumar, addressing International Press Freedom Day function, said political bosses were waiting gleefully to bring out such legislation. "Greater danger for the freedom of press is from within."

Stating that the paid news syndrome is being discussed on various forums including media circles, Kumar said the contract-oriented labour policies adopted by media houses have been encouraging such tendencies.

"Some time government will have to enact a legislation to ensure job security to journalists and editorial board," he said.

Kumar, who is also state information secretary, alleged that the marketing teams are dictating terms to editorial board setting in a wrong trend.

Earlier, Goa Union of Journalist (GUJ) president Prakash Kamat criticised the state government for not making public, the inquiry report into assault on a photojournalist, Soiru Komarpant, working for a local newspaper, a year back.

He urged Mr Kumar to commit on making this inquiry report public on international press freedom day.

"In Goa, indeed there are cases that concern us. Soiru Komarpant, a photojournalist working with Gomantak newspaper was assaulted a year back. The inquiry is conducted but report is not open," Kamat remembered talking about hazards faced by media in Goa.

"We want the report to come out which will also expect to suggest certain guidelines for the photojournalists when they are on duty," the GUJ said.

Kumar, however, made no reference to the issue, which was debated during the interaction session held later.

Komarpant was brutally assaulted by police in Margao city last year when he was covering a flash communal violence that erupted in this commercial town.

Chief minister Digamber kamat had constituted inquiry by senior bureaucrat Swapnil Naik to investigate into the assault.

"The report is placed before chief minister's office months back but still its not revealed despite our several representation to chief minister," Kamat said.

Subsequently, Goa had witnessed two more assaults including vernacular journalists in south Goa.

"In one of the case, a minister had threatened a journalist but nothing has happened to get him justice," Kamat said.

"These are stray incidents which threatens freedom of press in Goa," GUJ president said.

Senior advocate Satish Sonak participating in the debate during the International Press Freedom Day, questioned police's reluctance to get this report in public.

Inspector general of police Sundari Nanda was also present for the debate.

"Make the report public in next 24 hours, if government isconcerned about press freedom," Sonak said.

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How can there be freedom and impartial reporting when the finances of the media are controlled by the industrial houses and politicians?

- vishwas prabhudesai, loliem | 04 th May 2010 09:45

 

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