I&B minister Anurag Thakur slammed television news channels yesterday, saying, “If you decide to invite guests who are polarising, who spread false narratives, and who shout at the top of their lungs – the credibility of your channel goes down.”
This was part of a speech he made at the AIBD General Conference 2022, organised by the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development.
Saying the biggest threat to mainstream media is not from digital platforms but from mainstream media channels, Thakur said, as reported by ANI: “In my personal opinion the biggest threat to mainstream media is not from new age digital platforms, but rather the mainstream media channel itself...Your decisions regarding the guest, the tone and visuals define your credibility in the eyes of the audience.”
Noisy debates, which have come to define Indian TV news, was also a sore point for the minister. Warning that the “younger audience” would change channels, he said, “Are you going to watch the narrative be defined by soundbites or redefine yourself and set the terms for your guests and channel? Are you going to show visuals that grab eyeballs and inflame anger or show restraint and project visuals in context to showcase the full picture?”
He added, “Are you going to watch as the younger audience switches and sweeps through the shrill on TV news or are you going to bring back the neutrality in news and discussion in debates to stay ahead of the game?”
Here at Newslaundry, we’ve made it a point to report on news media resorting to shrill debates and dog whistles. Except the union government does it too through state broadcaster DD News, going after religious minorities and opposition parties in exactly the same vein as top private news channels. Check out our report for more.