- The current state of mainstream media(MSM) sucks, not just in India but world over. It is riddled with fake news, biased reporting, and crappy op-eds. Some examples –
- https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/26/us/politics/donald-trump-narendra-modi-india.html – tries to draw absurd and devious parallels between a “born into richness” spoilt brat, and a self-made leader who rose from the ranks with a good administrative record
- https://www.thequint.com/world/2017/05/02/osama-bin-laden-wife-najwa-son-omar-book – tries to humanize a monster. And this news outlet is founded by Barkha Dutt.
- I am sure Fox News will be filled with such stuff.
No. India’s Megan Kelly is Barkha Dutt, Fox news is Ndtv and Grand old party is Cong… 😀 https://t.co/UZpoZ4Sk3a
— Anirudh Acharya (@anirudhacharya1) April 26, 2016
- Which is why proliferation of internet and media/mobile technology was a game changer. Everyone had a cheap and accessible platform to air their views, fact check false reports and challenge the biases and prejudice of powerful journalists and editors. Anyone with a mobile camera can shoot a video and broadcast it on youtube. That is amazing power in the hands of the common man, against people who believed they can be the high priests and gatekeepers of public opinion.
Proliferation of internet and media tech is the best thing that has happened to Indian pol. It has enabled the pushback of the cong eco-sys
— Anirudh Acharya (@anirudhacharya1) November 7, 2015
Plenty. Karunanidhi, Lalu Yadav, Mulayam Singh to name few. But these names dont fit into your propaganda very well. https://t.co/kHobsxKL2s
— Anirudh Acharya (@anirudhacharya1) January 30, 2016
- Obviously strong political forces across party lines started to game this feature of internet and digital media technology. And they used the very same medium to bulldoze their views and spread fake news and propaganda using whatsapp messages and such.
- Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV claims that it will challenge this corruption in the media, but I strongly doubt it. It will be like the Fox News of India. Just like NDTV, but the other side of the coin.
- So what do we do for reliable honest news reporting and journalism?
- Do we just take news from different sources, be vigilant and fact check before we accept a news report. This can hardly be a solution.
- But we don’t want the government regulating the media either.
- I am very optimistic about this new media venture called Wikitribune started by the Wikimedia foundation, and managed by Jimmy Wales. They plan to crowdsource fact-checking of news articles, and build a community of journalists and volunteers to have a non-partisan news outlet. This might very well be the solution to the current problem of how the market dynamics has ended up creating unabashedly partisan media outlets like Republic and NDTV.
- Wikinomics is a nice book illustrating some of the successes of crowdsourcing. I am hoping Wikitribune will also be one of them.