• Stambh Organization

AUTHENTICITY OF PRESS.

Updated: Jul 14

TOPIC - AUTHENTICITY OF PRESS.


By: - Aryan Sharma (RESEARCH INTERN, STAMBH ORGANISATION)


© 2021StambhOrganisation: All Rights Reserved


Date- 3 rd July 2021



AUTHENTICITY OF PRESS.

Role of Media informing

propaganda

“Propaganda is to a democracy what violence is to a dictatorship.”


-William Blum.



What is Media?

The term media originated from the Latin word; medium/ medius; which means; intermediate; middle ground. Media refers to the communication channels through which news, music,

movies, promotional messages, or other data is promulgated. It describes the various ways of

communication in a society as it refers to all means of communication, ranging from a telephone

call to the news on television.

Different types of media:

Media can be classified into four types:

1) Print media

Newspaper:

It is a major source of information for a large number of people. It may be national, local, daily,

or weekly newspaper. It is available to the masses at a very low cost.

Magazines:

It is a specialized advertising media that serves the educational, informational, and other

specialized needs of consumers, industries, and businesses. It is a high involvement media as the

consumers pay a premium price for the magazines.

2) Broadcast media

Television:



It is a principal source of information and entertainment. It is believed to be the most

authoritative, exciting, and influential medium for reaching a very large audience as it combines

visual images, color, motion, and sound to achieve the viewer's attention.

Radio:

Radio is a premier mass medium for advertisers and users as it has a widespread reach. It

efficiently delivers the message to a large number of people across the country as its

broadcasting is undertaken in the major cities as well as the rural areas.

3) Outdoor media

Outdoor media which is also known as transit advertising includes billboards, neon signs posters,

etc. It has the potential to generate considerable reach as it has geographic flexibility and a

creative impact.

4) Internet

The internet is rapidly emerging as viable and a major source of communication as many people

especially during this time of adversity seek news, educational material, and entertainment online

because it is a worldwide medium that provides means of exchanging information through the

use of the world wide web, social media, etc. Social media is a platform where communities

interact, collaborate, and share content.

What is Propaganda?

In 1939 Miller defined "propaganda as an expression of opinion or actions by individuals or

groups deliberately designed to influence opinion or actions of other individuals or groups with

reference to predetermined ends". In layman's terms, Propaganda refers to a deliberate process

through which one uses persuasion techniques to convince all parties to agree with the desired

notion, as well as management of collective attitude and perceptions by manipulating the key

symbols and information. It is a consistent and enduring effort to create or shape an event in such

a way that influences the public view. usually, propaganda is used for selfish gains or to distract

the public.

Propaganda techniques:


Bandwagon: this technique works because of the inherent desire of the people to identify with

their peers. Propagandists exploit this flaw by appealing to the public, convincing them to think,

speak or act in a specific way simply because everyone else is.

Snob appeal: in an attempt to appeal to the general public's aspiration to belong to the society's

higher class, propagandists can use snob appeal as a technique. This involves convincing the

public in ways that are beneficial to the propagandists and serve their purposes. This technique

works only if the propagandists are able to advertise their ideas, product, or opinion as worthy of

elite status.

Card stacking: it is the use of facts that support only one side of an issue or candidate to look

good or convincing. It means stacking the cards in favor of the product; in this technique

advertisers, stress is positive qualities and ignore negative.

Transfer: Transfer is when a symbol that carries respect, authority, sanction, and prestige is used

along with an idea or argument to make it look more acceptable. It is the use of patriotic and

popular symbols to create a positive or a negative image.

Positive- when pleasant music, beautiful outdoor, happy families, etc. are featured.

Negative: when shocking images of an oil spill or black and white images or any other form of

unpleasant imagery is featured.

Media plays a very dynamic role, if not the most important role in extinguishing or propagating

propaganda. This can include anything ranging from social media, magazines, newspapers,

television radio, etc; taking the example of news sources, they are expected to present a story or

narrative with all its facts and without any biases. This is one of the most perplexing obstacles

faced by the news sources while reporting, as it is almost impossible to eliminate all biases since

it is usually the bias that helps to form an opinion. News sources can compensate for this bias by

reporting all the actual facts, which allows the viewers in turn to use their critical thinking to

form their own opinion regarding a story. This bias of the news channels can also prove to be

useful. In order to counteract or see-through propaganda, it is important that multiple sources of

information exist for the benefit of the audience. This helps because, unless the story is entirely

straightforward or black and white, statistically different news channels should have different


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opinions or different biases about the same story. Therefore, if all the news sources seem to be

promoting the same narratives without all the facts or with minimal facts, it is upon the viewer to

figure out whether what being presented to them is the truth or mere propaganda.

Politicization of Media

The whole scenario of news in the present world is completely different from what it used to be.

Any incident or news comes with a political motive. Important news is politicized to a great level

for mere political gain and to score brownie points against each other. The blame game of the

political parties becomes the main highlight and the real essence of the news takes the backseat.

Today, no one knows the real story. Indian media is highly politicized. Taking sides, supporting

the political agenda, and not giving the real news has been the main aspects of Indian media in

the present day.

We get different versions of news depending upon which newspaper we subscribe to or which

channels we watch. For instance, a pro-congress newspaper always highlights the positives of the

party in the front pages where the negatives are being hidden in the inside pages. One newspaper

will go all the way to praise Congress with hidden motive and the other will fire all cylinders

against Congress to put forward BJP's achievement. In the progress, we fail to get the real news.

Accordingly, our opinions are formed. More or less, we get highly influenced by media in every

way in our decision-making process.

These days, turning on the news channels and watching the prime-time programs is no less than

watching some drunkards shouting and howling at each other trying to put each other down.

Each news channel sets its agenda and propagates the issue. There is never a fair discussion. No

one is given the chance to express their views or clarify their stand on certain issues. One who

can outshout the other wins. No matter how baseless he or she can be. Even the anchor who is

the moderator has its own views and projects them. This is actually not fair given the

responsibilities of the media in the biggest democracy.

Indian media has become extremely politicized and it shows their irresponsibility. Media is

considered the fourth estate. It should be neutral rather than taking sides. The media should not

abuse its freedom and power by being biased. There should be a fair and free press. It is the

biggest requirement in any democracy.


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International Propaganda

Propaganda is a term that has become so commonplace, hardly a day passes that it is not

mentioned in the newspapers or tossed about in conversation. Its meaning ranges from

“something somebody is trying to put across on a person” to “a systematic attempt to influence

opinion or attitude in the interest of some cause.” It is in a sense closer to the latter definition that

legislators tend to use the word. The politician has an uneasy feeling about using the word to

describe the activities of his own group; he discredits the activities of his opponents by calling

these activities propaganda.

The United States would not plan to spend an estimated $100,00,000 in 1958 on international

propaganda if it did not believe so. The Soviet Union spends an even greater amount, and there is

hardly a state so poor that it does not earmark some funds to be used in an attempt to influence

foreign opinions and attitudes in its favor. Most governments also encourage their citizens to

engage in private propaganda aimed at promoting the good of the nation. Besides all this money

into international propaganda, states have gone out of the way to sign treaties, especially since

World War I, making important concessions to other states in exchange for vague freedom from

propaganda. Publicists have argued vigorously on whether international propaganda, public or

private, is admissible in international law.

International Propaganda, in other words, the world is convicted today that propaganda is no

mere talk. Propaganda can cast doubts into the minds of people. It can also be used to promote

international goodwill. And many international agreements have been signed, and resolutions

adopted, calling upon the signatories to conduct various types of propaganda to its end. The art

of international propaganda has been refined in recent years and the attitude toward it has

changed, especially since World War II; so that a fresh look at the activity and its control is

significant at this time. An account of legal and diplomatic maneuvers in the attempt to control

international propaganda-especially when they are so numerous and monotonously repetitive-is

not always fascinating reading. But justice cannot be done to the topic without bringing out the

very frequency of certain attempts. The history of international propaganda activities is

examined briefly to give the topic perspective, and the propaganda agencies of the United States,

Britain, and the Soviet Union-the most active states in the field-are described to show the scope

of such activities in the world today.


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At present, international propaganda is controllable and controlled by domestic courts, under the

municipal laws of states. While the chapter on the municipal control propaganda by no means

covers all the domestic legislation on the subject, a broad enough selection of the laws of the

various states has been included to show how well governments have fortified themselves

against the darts of international propaganda.

Interpretation of Data


“Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.”

- Mark Twain


This statement by Mark Twain contributes largely to the present situation of Indian media. In the

scope of contemporary evaluation of Indian Media, it is evident that the media houses focus on

blatant use of statistics over facts. The analysis of the aforementioned observation is related to

the source and means of these resources. Statistics are recognized as the data that are obtained

from a source that is generally unreliable and vague on the other hand facts are verified and well-

researched information of which the originators or founders stand accountable. Statistics are

widely available in comparison to facts, which are hard to obtain, and it is due to this scarcity

media houses generally tow towards statistics. The other major reason for favoring statistics over

facts is that; facts are rigid whereas statistics are malleable; therefore the media houses explicitly

interpret statistics to achieve their desired conclusion.

Almost everybody has to count on the media for the information important to the shaping of

popular opinion. Because journals are available at a very cheap price, their effect on molding

opinions has grown with the spread of mass education. Most newspapers print reports of

parliamentary discussions, addresses by eminent figures, government and party declarations, and

other articles. Not all of them are democratic, but even the best for consumption are political

facts. Each newspaper is therefore very busy collecting political news and producing delicious

dishes. The only purpose is not to reflect the truth, but rather to portray and systematize them in a

specific way.

However, there are no flaws in the press. Indeed, it is sometimes noted that newspapers only

have one purpose nowadays. They are constantly involved in the role of keeping a certain kind of


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readers on whom they rely. In order to attract the favor of readers, any possible form and means

are embraced. Each journal thus establishes its own dedication, which worships it under the

assumption that it brings products to them. Another critique that the newspapers are being

criticized is that their publication has been a large enterprise and they are, for the most part, the

properties of the 'capitalistic elite.' As is also noted, "The volume of impartial facts and equitable

thought, in general, is limited and the press has gained exceptional control over opinion,

worsening its failures rather than fixing them." A free press is definitely a key agency for public

policy formation and the preservation of democracy.

However, it is getting increasingly tough to ensure a free media because of this false

interpretation operation which is further forcing media houses, even those who want to operate

freely and ethically, to operate on bias and unethically due to strong competition and corporate

pressure. Therefore in order to promote true and fair media we, as citizens, further have to

appreciate true journalism and further substantiate the misinterpretation of statistics or

misrepresentation of facts.

Forming Propaganda with the Regionalization of media

The regionalization of media has vastly contributed to forming propaganda since the regional

and customary practices of a group are the ones from which the group is most attached and

therefore any operatives in his regional preference will impact the consumer with a large hit.

Although the regional media was very strong at the time of independence in India since there

was no strong central resource as the British officials always tried to weaken the press. But post

the colonial period and growing demand for news, the media started to get centralized and

focused on national news and stories. This national news was not as comprehensive as the

regional news but covered the situation with a neutral export which was highly unlikely in the

case of regional media; which majorly focused on pleasing the local audience.

In contemporary times the media is again shifting towards regionalization since several houses

are no concerned with making neutral and substantive news rather they want to form

propaganda. Therefore, in the course of forming propaganda, it becomes necessary to create a

desired public opinion, and as mentioned previously in order to create a desired public opinion a


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customary or regional practice is targeted. In several cases, these regional practices are generally

the language or attire of the anchor.

This practice of gaining regional popularity is neither exclusive nor the genesis of media rather it

evidently exists in several other fields such as politics where several leaders support a cause or

campaign generally to establish their regional support for a particular community, that they

aspire to make their vote bank.

The credibility of Media Trial

The media is considered the fourth pillar of democracy has become the backbone of the news

industry and plays a very important role in the public eyes and ears. The first question that arises

that to what extend can media use the freedom given under article 19(1)(a). There are being

many instances recently and in the past also that have compelled us compelled us to raise

questions on media regarding the violation of their rights. Various judges have also discussed

this accept in their decision whether the right to press violets right to privacy of the individual.

Media has now reincarnated itself into a public court which can also be referred to as; JanataAdalat and has started interfering in court proceedings so much that they announce their

own verdict even before the court does. In present times we observe trials by media itself

conducts their own separate investigation which builds a public opinion against the accused even

before the court. In many cases the person is innocent, but it is already proven guilty by the

media and the people also believe it and this has a huge impact on the person's image the person

life is basically spoiled because the person has been proven guilty by the media even the person

is innocent. This clearly violates the person's right to a fair trial which every individual right

there is excessive use of the right to freedom of speech, and it is affecting the other person's life

which is not right.

In India, trial by media has assumed significant proportions. Some famous criminal cases that

would have gone unpunished but for the intervention of media are the Priyadarshini Mattoo case,

Jessica Lal case, NitishKatara murder case, and Bijal Joshi rape case. In these cases, media

played a very important role and helped the people to get justice at a time when these cases were

not noticed.


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In this context, a distinct observation was made by a Division Bench of the Supreme Court

comprising of Justices P. Sathasivam and Swatanter Kumar in their judgment in the Jessica Lal

case whereby the duty and role played by the media while reporting a case was brought out

stating that "Presumption of innocence of an accused is a legal presumption and should not be

destroyed at the very threshold through the process of media trial and that too when the

investigation is pending. In that event, it will be opposed to the very basic rule of law and would

impinge upon the protection granted to an accused under Article 21 ". The Bench cautioned that,

"every effort should be made by the print and electronic media to ensure that the distinction

between trial by media and informative media is always maintained". Media will render great

service if it observes the Lakshman Rekha charted by the Supreme Court. By stating the above

the court clearly spoke about the responsibility shouldered to media and the limitations to be kept

in mind by the media while reporting a case.

• Accuracy of the case shall be maintained and verified before the same is

reported/published and read of all.

• Every caution shall be undertaken to avoid any writing that is opinion based i.e., either

favoring or defaming any person/party.

• Right to privacy shall not be interfered with.

• Accuracy is of utmost importance while reporting court proceedings.

• Reports based on mere suspicion or opinion shall not be published.

• Appreciation of an act of violence shall be avoided always.

Contemporary Anchor-Reporter Dichotomy

1. A Reporter is one who gathers news on current events and an anchor is a person who just

sits down in front of the camera and delivers the news to the people.

2. The reporters have to cast their voices and even write the scripts of the news that they

have collected. On the other hand, the anchor does not have to write the script.

3. The job of an anchor is more prestigious and high paid.


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4. In order to become an anchor, a person should have good looks or a good personality as

his face is more seen by viewers. A reporter should have the nose to smell news around.

Anchor and reporter are part of news channels. Sometimes the anchor may adorn the role of a

reporter and vice versa. But it is quite rare that a reporter adorns the grab of an anchor. Though

the anchor and the reporter could change sides, they are totally different in many respects. A

reporter is one who gathers news on current events and an anchor is a person who just sits down

in front of the camera and delivers the news to the people. An anchor is also called an

anchorman, anchorwoman, news presenter, and newsreader. A reporter travels around collecting

news whereas the anchor just sits in the studio and reads out the news that has been collected. A

reporter gets news through many ways like press conferences, interviews, handouts and other

ways. The reporters have to cast their voices and even write the scripts of the news that they have

collected. On the other hand, the anchor does not have to write the script. Sometimes the anchor

also does the job of writing news but only in rare cases.

When comparing the two jobs, the job of an anchor is more prestigious and high paid. The skills

required for becoming an anchor are different from that of a reporter. In order to become an

anchor, a person should have good looks or a good personality as his face is more seen by

viewers. An anchor should have the capacity to be always comfortable while facing the camera

even during tense situations. Moreover, an anchor should have good communication skills. A

reporter should have the nose to smell news around. They have to maintain good contacts with

their sources so that they get the news before any person gets it. Moreover, he should have a good

command of the language.

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