He said there is an overdose of opinion

news Sunday, March 27, 2016 - 16:56

The Indian media is becoming an "agenda-setting institution" forcing politicians to respond in line with this changed character of the press, I and B Minister Arun Jaitley said on Sunday.

"Governments have also realised that there is multiplicity and different trends. Now one of the trends is that media is no longer a reporting institution, it is also becoming an agenda setting institution. Therefore within that media you have to find space for reporting institutions," Jaitley told PTI at an interaction.

He was responding to a question about how government perceives the coverage it is receiving in the media.

"You can (in this situation) find space in social media, some space in conventional print media. You may or may not be able to find space on electronic media because space for news on the electronic media is depleting," he added.

Asked about the perception that the government seems to prefer one-way communication, with even the Prime Minister not holding a Press Conference, Jaitley said he and the government communicate regularly but quipped that "just as the character of the media has changed, the character of politicians too has changed." 

Jaitley said that often he does not give TV bytes as the journalists are only interested in a comment to be run for the 9 pm prime time show.

It's a question of who sets the agenda, he said.

The government thinks it should set the agenda and media should report and the latter thinks that it sets the agenda, he added.

Referring to comments made by him on the media in recent times, Jaitley said that often a person is not sure of facts even after going through the newspaper or watching TV as there is an "overdose" of opinion.

It is here, Jaitley said, that there is a chance for conventional media to strike back. He lamented that excellent speeches were made by female MPs on budget, but they hardly got any media coverage.

Talking about the growth of FM radio, Jaitley said that while AIR news has already been allowed, giving a nod to overall news could take longer.

In news, he said there is no censorship but only a monitoring mechanism. Presently, the required monitoring mechanisms for FM radio are not in place, he said while refusing to put a timeline as to when this "next step" of allowing news on radio could be taken.

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