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‘If You Decide To Invite Guests Who Are Polarising...’: I&B Min Anurag Thakur

Thakur said the biggest threat to mainstream media are mainstream media channels itself.

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Information & Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur on Monday, 19 September, made a strong pitch for “bringing back neutrality in news”, saying shrill debates may get television channels eyeballs but not credibility.

Addressing a function organised by the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD), Thakur said the biggest threat to mainstream media is not from new age digital platforms, but mainstream media channels itself.

"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. Your decisions regarding the guest, the tone and visuals define your credibility in the eyes of the audience," the minister said.

He said the viewer may stop for a minute to watch a television news show, but will never trust the anchor, the channel or the brand as a transparent source of news.

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'I Strongly Believe That Journalists Are Duty Bound To Report News Without Fabrication'

Thakur said mainstream media organisations have a great challenge to provide truthful, accurate, and reliable news faster, while preserving media ethics and values.

The minister wondered whether the news channels were going to watch the younger audiences switch and sweep through the shrill on TV news or bring back the neutrality in news and discussion in debates to stay ahead of the game.

“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 said.

Thakur also sought to know how television channels would redefine and innovate TV news content, presentation and dissemination to reach the new-age audience who is constantly being fed information via social media platforms.

"Instead of compromising our values in this fierce competition, we must work hard to preserve professionalism. I strongly believe that journalists are duty bound to report news without fabrication, despite temptations to compete with those who propagate false news,”
Anurag Thakur said.

The minister said though broadcast media has always been in the mainstream of journalism, the COVID-19 era has shaped its structure in a more strategic way.

He appreciated the role of Doordarshan and All India Radio for delivering on their mandate of public service during the testing times of the pandemic.

At the AIBD, Prasar Bharti CEO Mayank Agrawal received the 'Lifetime Achievement Award for 2022'.

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