The Editors Guild of India Wednesday expressed concern over the
increasing number of reports detailing the harmful practice of
publishing ‘paid news’ by some newspapers and television channels,
especially during recent elections.
Calling the phenomenon of paid news a blot on the country’s
democratic fabric, the Guild in a statement called upon all editors
in the country to desist from publishing any form of advertisement
that masquerades as news.
“It is imperative that news
organisations have to clearly distinguish between news and
advertisements with full and proper disclosure norms, so that no
reader and viewer is tricked by any subterfuge of advertisements
published and broadcast in the same format, language and style of
news,” the statement said.
“It is disturbing that this paid news
practice is also being used by companies, organisations and
individuals, apart from political parties.”
At its annual general meeting, the
Guild has also deplored the practice of “private treaties” where
news organisations accept free equity in unlisted companies in lieu
of promoting these companies through news columns and television
“The news organisations should
disclose their commercial and equity interests in such companies to
the readers and viewers in a transparent manner.”
“Both the media organisations and
editors who indulge in it, and the customers who offer payment for
such paid news are guilty of undermining the free and fair press,
which every citizen of India is entitled to,” the statement added.
In the coming months, the Guild will
join hands with other media organisations to sensitize the media and
civil society, including political parties and the Election
Commission on the need to eliminate this unacceptable practice.
Guild president Rajdeep Sardesai
announced the formation of an ethics committee headed by Business
Standard Editor in Chief T.N. Ninan. The other members are B.G.
Varghese, columnist, Sumit Chakravarty, editor of Mainstream and
Madhu Kishwar, editor of Manushi.