Selfie journalism is a threat from within: Rajdeep

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 05 December 2014 15:55 IST

Rajdeep Sardesai, India’s ace TV anchor and consulting editor of India Today Group, said the real threat to Indian journalism is from within – the current trend of timid, weak and Selfie Journalism.

He was speaking at the Goa Art and Literary Festival in conversation with veteran journalist Samar Halarnkar and Pakistani TV journalist Cyril Almeida, incidentally all having Goan origin.

Narrating an incident at the Diwali Milan organised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said most of the journalists were busy taking selfies with Modi rather than asking him questions.

“Modi did not have a single press conference during his tenure as a Gujarat chief minister and even as the PM till date. But one opportunity of meeting him was taken over by Selfies”, he said.

He also said newly inducted defence minister Manohar Parrikar, when he was the Goa chief minister, was called Chotta Modi as he did not allow journalists to ask hard-hitting questions.

Describing Modi’s media strategy, Sardesai, who quit CNN-IBN after Ambani took over the channel, said the prime minister directly deals with the proprietors while the media persons are busy striking private deals with the ruling politicians.

“The enemy of journalism is in the newsroom, not knowing who is working as the agent of the ruling party. On the other hand, the proprietors have monetary interest beyond the media houses. In this game, we have completely lost our moral compass”, said Sardesai in disgust.

Much before Modi era, Sardesai said the TV channels have been controlled by the regional politicians by owning the whole state-level or district-level cable networks.

“In spite of paying over Rs 50 crore annually towards the carriage fees, the cable operators immediately take you off the air if anything is broadcast against their political masters”, he said.

To cite few examples, Sardesai said the Punjab cable network is fully controlled by the Akali Dal, by Jayalalitha in Tamil Nadu, by Reddy brothers in parts of Karnataka and Changan Bhujbal in Nasik, Maharashtra.

While politicians having divergent views are united in dealing with the media, he said the media on the other hand is totally divided.

“Our colleagues get very happy when any media organisation closes down or even a colleague is thrown out from the job for not succumbing to political pressures”, he quipped.

According to Sardesai, hardly 20 to 25 TV channels in India are running in profit out of total 393 satellite channels running throughout the country.

“Aaj Tak is the leading channel making a profit of Rs 125 crore annually”, he informed the gathering of national and international delegates at the Lit Fest.

When asked by the audience what is the alternative for free and independent media, Sardesai felt that digital media could be an alternative, provided the equally timid and weak society does not rise up to the decaying situation. is now on Telegram & also Youtube. Kindly subscribe for free & remain updated.

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Not "selfie journalism" but "self serving journalism" is the root cause of degradation of journalism. Do not mortgage your pride. Many journalists cry for freedom when their position is threatened when any political change takes place. Journalists should always remain in self appraisal mode.

- Madhav Bastodker, Ponda | 06 th December 2014 18:49


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