Paid news trend flayed

The paid news phenomenon in the news media is dangerous. A newspaper should never succumb to it, even if it meant ceasing publication, Mammen Mathew, the Chief Editor of Malayala Manorama, has said.

Mathew, however, has opposed any outside control on the media. “I’m a die-hard advocate of a free press. Newspapers should themselves build a self-correction mechanism,” he said, delivering the 12th M N Srinivas Memorial Lecture on “The role of the media” at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) here on Thursday.

According to Mathew, newspapers have a “pretty humiliating” experience of being hauled up by the Press Council when they apparently go wrong. He hoped that the electronic media too would eventually develop a self-censorship mechanism. “But censorship by the government is certainly not the solution,” he said.

In Mathew’s opinion, the very nature of media has been evolving, what with the social networking sites playing a crucial role in the modern society. “Young people are now getting most of their information through Facebook and Twitter,” he said.

According to Mathew, newspapers in India are still run by editors, and owners do not have much say. The lecture was organised in memory of the late M N Srinivas, who was a professor of sociology and anthropology at the National Institute of Advanced Studies.

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