Media's 'misrepresentation' of facts affected Delhi CWG: Swraj Paul

Media's 'misrepresentation' of facts affected Delhi CWG: Swraj Paul

"While being sensitive to the narrow line between free expression and censorship, it is essential to protect consumers of information from damage that misrepresentation can do," Paul said in a keynote address to the Mauritius Forum.

Speaking on the topic, 'the role of the media in promoting eduction, global cultural tolerance and understanding', Paul, also Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton and University of Westminster, said that too many instances of misrepresentation by the media can also eventually undermine its greatest asset -- credibility.

"As we move into this new universe of communications, there is another phenomenon that is troubling. This is the tendency of segments of the hyper-media to sometimes intermingle facts, opinions and perceptions without clearly identifying what is fact, what is opinion and what is perception," Paul said.

"Wittingly or unwittingly, this can result in the media creating its own reality and rapidly disseminating that artificially constructed reality," he said. For example, Paul said, one has seen how this approach has affected the presentation of events such as the financial situation in the United Arab Emirates and Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

"The freedom to argue and debate, to disagree, to compare evidence and assess policies makes for lively societies," he said, adding that media that genuinely represent all of the different groups and voices in complex societies was critical.

Paul said he believed that the world may be entering an especially troubling moment in history and there were not many solutions to off-set the storms that are gathering.
"The media is, of course, one of the most important of them. The media can serve as part of a process of social enlightenment, producing new roles for critical and public debate," Paul added.