paid news reaching serious proportions in the media

Panaji: The phenomenon of “paid news” is reaching serious proportions in the media and no newspaper is willing to offend its corporate advertisers, a senior Goa bureaucrat said Tuesday.

Speaking on the occasion of the National Press Day here, Information and Publicity Secretary Narendra Kumar said that “paid news” was a symptom of newspapers not giving autonomy to editorial boards.

“We can’t be oblivious of the stark reality. The media now is heavily dependant on infusion of capital and technology. A person putting in money would like to recover it. And the payback period has to be quick,” said Kumar, the second-most senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer posted in the state.

Pointing to a complete transformation of newspapers in the present times, Kumar said that journalism today was a business proposition.

“The soul of the media, which is journalism, is being strangulated,” Kumar said.

Kumar is known for playing a decisive part in the scuttling of the information and publicity department’s controversial draft advertising policy that was aggressively pursued by Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, who openly advocated “paid news” or advertorials.

“Most newspapers do not give autonomy and freedom to the editorial boards. Paid news is a symptom of that. No newspaper will today dare to offend corporate advertisers,” Kumar said.

The National Press Day is observed Nov 16 and is symbolic of a free and responsible press in India.

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