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Should government regulate sensational media?

Calling for an end to sensational reporting in Indian media, a government official in the Southern Indian state of Karnataka recently proposed the idea of a government-appointed "ombudsman" to regulate media in that region.

But after receiving harsh criticism from opponents, including some who called the proposal a "fascist move" intended to prevent the media from reporting freely and fairly, the proposal was retracted last week, according to the Times of India and IndianExpress.com.

What do you think? In regions where media often concoct and sensationalize stories, should media be monitored and regulated by a government entity? If so, under what circumstances? Should an "ombudsman" come from outside the news media industry or from within?

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The government should set up

The government should set up a quasi-judicial media watchdog to weed out the junk in the name of media. No profession or industry can be left on its own; there should be a regulator comprising experts from the media. These experts should be senior journalists and not those from the management.

How can you even ask the

How can you even ask the question? Any kind of media control is just another form of thought control. Allow people to decide for themselves. And where something written is untrue, insulting or libellous, I am sure most countries have laws in place to deal with it through civil or criminal litigation. And besides, who gets to decide what is "sensational"? In China, asking for freedom for Tibet will be deemed "sensational". In Israel expressing sympathy for Hamas and the people of Gaza will be considered "sensational" by the government censor. And so on.

This is a vibrant and

This is a vibrant and thought-provoking discussion.

Given the rather

Given the rather irresponsible way in which some colleagues handle certain stories, one may be tempted to opt for a kind of regulation from government. However, cognisant of the fact that most government would rather take a mile when given a yard, I would finally opt for the press to be given a free hand so that the judiciary remains the ultimate arbiter in any cases of sensational reporting that infringes on the law.

This issue is much more

This issue is much more complicated. First we have to distinguish between tabloids and the quality papers getting more and more sensational. I think in both cases governmental regulations would be wrong and harmful for democracy. Tabloids are some special sort of media. They often alarm and hyperbolize topics but media have a right to hyberbolize. Tabloids not only report about politics but also about celebrities, publishing sometimes very intimate information. But why not report about their lives, if they sometimes have more influence on societies that politics? Remember Jean Jacques Rousseau? He wrote about how to bring up children and after years historians revealed that all of his kids died in orphanages... Tabloids now do the same. They confront people's images with their real life. They are relizing people's right to be informed. The second thing is sensationalization of quality press. I think it happens because quality papers are trying to survive - the circulations of printing are dropping with a high speed. That's why they more often than ever publish not confirmed info and so on... Nevertheless as Rina wrote, if any regulation should be launched, it should happen within the media itself. Editors should demand from journalists the high qualified information, then edit them and consider: to print or not to print. And answer themselves a question: do we need to transform into tabloid or do we want to maintain our quality (and can we afford it). I think it shouldn't be an issue at all: to regulate or not to regulate media by governments. For me the more interesting problem that we all should deal with is the influence that commercials (advertising industry and money) have now on media content. Especially now when we all cope with the global economic crisis.

Free media is as essential to

Free media is as essential to a country as water is to fish. A nation can't prosper and progress without a vibrant, pro-people and independent media. However, freedom also demands responsibility. A responsible reporting doesn't necessarily mean restricted reporting. It only excludes sensationalism, undue hype and speculation.

Unfortunately, the race for first in news breaking has urged many media outlets, especially in Pakistan, to report irresponsibly. Objectivity demands an equal coverage of both the parties. But the TV news channels in Pakistan are under the wrong impression that only the anti-government reporting can win them audiences. It is the concern of winning audiences that is considered supreme instead of giving the audiences larger picture of the events. It is sad to see that so-called analysts and pseudo-intellectuals are commanding the air waves these days who deem it their divine duty to comment on every thing. The subjective opinions have also marred the news that should base on hard facts. The tilted reporting skewed in favour of some persons or parties brings bad name to the respectable field of journalism.

This could only be solved through self media regulation and following code of conduct and journalism ethics. Otherwise, the standard of journalism will fall further and people would stop believing the so-called 'free news'.

Given the rather

Given the rather irresponsible way in which some colleagues handle certain stories, one may be tempted to opt for a kind of regulation from government. However, cognisant of the fact that most government would rather take a mile when given a yard, I would finally opt for the press to be given a free hand so that the judiciary remains the ultimate arbiter in any cases of sensational reporting that infringes on the law.

HAving been in the profession

HAving been in the profession for more than two decades, I know for a fact that a lot of journalists are extremely biased, and resort to sensational reporting that is not at all factual, but designed to harm those opposed to their own interests. However, regulating such reporting needs to be done from within the media itself. In a democratic country, bringing in the government for such an exercise will defeat the very essence of democracy and dissent.

There we are again. If the

There we are again. If the Gov't has "good" law why should they bother to put in place the so called "ombudsman" to regulate media? Let whoever feel s/he was misrepresented use the law!!! I would rather suggest that journalists should elect an independent media ethic board that will look into such matter in the name of FREDOOM OF EXPRESSION.

I think that no matter

I think that no matter sensational media are, state or government is not qualified to regulate them. Only media organizations are able to bring journalists to be more professional by evoiding sensationalization.

i think the

i think the 'sensationalisation' should be controlled so that media can be more responsbile...and people don't need to fear it..but interestingly, TOI also carries such sensational news items

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