ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Media Watch : Entry of Foreign Media

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Whether foreign media should be given entry into India is an old controversy and one would have thought, especially after the 1955-56 cabinet decision that specifically banned such entry, that the issue was well and truly buried. In the 1950s the issue was a live one. The western powers wanted to influence Indian middle class thinking and were most anxious to plant media favourable to them in Indian hearts. There was a time when newspapers like The Times of India and the Free Press Journal felt honoured to be associated with The New York Times. Association with The New York Times served two purposes: one was cheap access to foreign news, another not very flattering, a feeling of being associated with a major international news organisation. Happily, those associations did not last long. But obviously there still are some newspapers that cannot do without their foreign associates. It is a pity. The question may well be asked: Is there a single newspaper in the world that carries a story originating from, say, The Times of India, The Hindu, The Hindustan Times or The Deccan Herald? But many of our newspapers have no compunction in using news and features first published by foreign newspapers and one has only to read the Op Ed page of The Times of India or the Science and Technology supplements of The Hindu and the Deccan Herald to realise how painfully dependent Indian newspapers – even some of the richest – are on foreign media. It is a shame.

The usual argument is that not enough scientific articles are available in India and that, anyway, foreign agencies are far ahead in discussing scientific and technological development. The truth is that Indian newspapers do not encourage local talent. There is no effort made to publish Indian writers on science. It is a disgraceful situation when even so rich a newspaper like The Times of India should depend upon foreign newspapers for international coverage of news.

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