Press Release

‘Govt has not been able to harness power of media’

18 March 2014

A broken relationship exists between the government and the media, rife with “dire consequences”, and that a failure to establish credibility and importance has meant “the industry perennially stays on a back foot, defending itself against every new wave of regulation aimed only at further curtailing its wings,” Star India CEO Uday Shankar said.

Speaking at an event in Mumbai, Shankar, who is also the Chairman of FICCI’s Media and Entertainment committee, said the government has not been able to leverage either the impact that mass media can have in India, or harness the power of media as an economic engine that can create jobs and wealth.

Calling for “a new contract between the government and the media,” Shankar pointed out that the next government’s ‘regulatory agenda’ for the media would play an important role in the growth of the sector, observing that the process had been stalled after some progress.

“Whether in accelerating the digitisation of television delivery, or creating progressive frameworks on consumer pricing,” Shankar told the audience, that the agenda is awaiting the arrival of a transformational government.

Reacting sharply to the recent AAP party’s attack on the media, the CEO said, “It was the media that had created rock stars out of a bunch of street artists and protesters. It was the relentless 24 by 7 coverage of facts and high decibel theatrics that created a political party from thin air and installed them in the government. You would have thought these leaders would have been grateful to the media for nurturing them....yet, they resorted to accusations of corruption...”

Shankar said, “...irrespective of the political party or government, the expectation from the media is that they will always be flag bearers for the party line...dare they cross the line into seeking accountability or evidence of performance, they are dubbed as incompetent, or worse, corrupt.” In his speech, he urged all the stakeholders to remain committed to retaining the vibrancy of the sector.

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