Monday, 1 August 2011

Media Dominance is Dangerous

It was unimaginable to see Rupert Murdoch, world's greatest media Mogul, seated in front of the British Parliamentary committee along with his son James Murdoch, trying to answer the serious criminal allegations of phone hacking, including those of some murder victims, victims of crimes, royal family members and politicians. One could see his hesitation in answering some of the questions, accepting his inability to know everything that was happening in his media empire and finally apologizing to all when the proceedings were being broadcast to millions of TV viewers all across the world. 
It was also interesting to see how the Indian Media covered the event. Apart from carrying the live broadcast of three hours grilling of the tycoon in the Parliament by BBC and CNN, most of the Indian news media avoided discussing the UK issue in the news. They spent all the time discussing if Indian Politicians could do a similar questioning of a VVIP in front of the cameras. 
It was quite understandable because Rupert Murdoch has his fingers in every media pie in India which apart from Star Empire includes NDTV, TV Today, TAM, ABP, Wall Street Journal, Radio, MSOs, DTH and internet properties. I am surprised how the Indian system has no checks for such monopolisation. This laxity and subservient attitude of our government is responsible for the present state of the country marred by various scams where a few industrial houses rule the country's economy depriving the masses of their dues. Poorer are getting poorer and rich are getting richer. 
It does not make much of a difference when the fingers are raised at the political bigwigs as they have become shameless and find innovative ways to get out of the rut unscathed, be it Kalmadi of CWG fame, Raja of 2G scam and Yeddyurappa of Karnataka mining scam.
I am afraid, it may not stall the progress on digitalization which could be kept pending for some more time proving disastrous for the industry. The Ministry, however is doing its best and has constituted a task force to implement digitalization fast. 
DTH is making good progress in the country connecting 2.5 million people in the first quarter of the year, increasing its reach to 35 million connections. Thanks to DTH, new technologies like HDTV, VoD, DVR, Sling media etc. are fast penetrating into the Indian homes and now many 3D television brands have also entered the market even when there is no 3D broadcast as yet. This month we carry the main story on DTH Market giving views of some prominent people. 
TRAI has issued a consultation paper on Mobile VAS and asked for the views of the stake holders. Also, I & B Ministry has made guidelines on employing children for TV programmes. 

—— Lt. Col. (Retd.) K K Sharma



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