Is media aware of what its audience thinks?
The new chairman of the Press Council of India (PCI), Justice Markandey Katju, has raised hackles across the media with his sweeping generalisation about the low quality of the Indian media and its poor intellectual standards. Actually, Justice Katju’s comments would apply equally to the mainstream media in many countries, but what ought to worry the Indian media greatly is the public reaction to the PCI chief’s comments.
One television survey showed that 74% of viewers supported Justice Katju’s views. Comments on Twitter, Facebook and blogs also show overwhelming support for the judge’s views. Even earlier, the movie Peepli Live had captured, with chilling accuracy, the daily farce enacted on national television in the name of breaking news or covering issues. Brokering News, a documentary produced by Umesh Aggarwal for the Public Service Broadcasting Trust, further exposes how paid news has penetrated business, politics, entertainment and sports.
Unfortunately, media owners and advertisers have failed to notice the viewer/reader’s revulsion. They have reacted to shrinking viewership by dumbing down news, cutting costs on grass-roots reporting and investigation and substituting it with noisy and pointless debates. Strangely, even regulators have not recognised the larger impact of fake news. SEBI passed the buck of dealing with private treaties (between media and corporate house) to the PCI, but failed to notice that investors, lured into making wrong investment decisions, have quietly eschewed financial products and prefer to keep their money in bank deposits. Will Justice Katju’s comment, which also holds the threat of action, force the media to introspect? The first hint of this is a collective decision to cover the birth of Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan’s baby with some decorum and sobriety. Let’s wait and watch how this turns out.
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“The working group on the steel industry for the 12th Five Year Plan has estimated that India’s steel demand is likely to grow 10.3% per annum, and will reach a level of 113 MT by the terminal year (2016-17) of the 12th Plan,” PK Mishra, secretary, ministry of steel said
Hyderabad: The Indian steel industry is expected to reach a production level of 113 million tonnes (MT) by the end of the 12th Five Year Plan, but it needs some policy corrections to ramp it up further, reports PTI quoting PK Mishra, secretary, ministry of steel.
These expectations were based on the likely annual growth of 9% in gross domestic product (GDP), he said.
“The working group on the steel industry for the 12th Five Year Plan has estimated that India’s steel demand is likely to grow 10.3% per annum, and will reach a level of 113 MT by the terminal year (2016-17) of the 12th Plan,” Mr Mishra said during an event to mark National Metallurgists’ Day.
The proposed investment of around $1 trillion in infrastructure in the 12th Plan and the efforts to increase the share of manufacturing sector from 15% to 25% of GDP by 2020, would lead to high demand of steel, he said.
There was an urgent need to make some policy corrections and adjustments to increase the crude steel production.
The steel ministry is of the view that steel companies must take up R&D as an important agenda, and for this, ministry had brought out a roadmap on R&D and technology, he said.
“The Indian steel industry is facing challenging times.... we are firm that India has a future in steel and has miles to go before it can match the infrastructure, lifestyles and per capita consumption of steel in the developed world and the newly industrialised economies of Asia,” Mr Mishra said.
He said it was a matter of satisfaction that a large number of investors, both domestic and foreign, were keen to invest in the Indian steel sector, but a pro-active role of government too will be required.