Investigative journalism and Indian mediaBy Kishore Budha • Dec 13th, 2008 • Category: Audience, Commercialisation, Media Freedom, Media Industry, Media Practice, Must Read, Political Communications
Pakistani newspaper Dawn‘s investigation, a follow up to Observer‘s inquiries into surviving Mumbai attacks (26 Nov 08) terrorist Kasab, has been picked and relayed by all three key Indian newspapers from Delhi. The Indian Express, Times of India, and Hindustan Times used the Dawn report (read here) as irrefutable proof of Pakistani involvement. Indian media demonstrates a tendency to transmit views of established sources rather than conduct its own inquiries (read my post on this issue here). Both the newspapers lead with Dawn‘s report. There are two interesting dimensions to the coverage. The first is the empirical fact of Dawn‘s report. The newspaper’s exposé is news in itself for its content and the resultant implications. We should have no problem with it since it challenges the Pakistani elite arguments of Indian home-grown terror as well as assorted conspiracy theorists’ claim that the Mumbai attacks were under a false flag. However, the second and by far the more important, issue is how the Indian media has been unable to demonstrate any ability to conduct its own investigative reporting. Is this a structural problem (lack of funds etc), an ideological one (follow the dominant Indian agenda), or a newsroom culture?
Besides the Tehelka expose into Gujarat riots, there is no contemporary example of media initiative. The question remains: Is Indian media a transmitter or a communicator. Read more about “transmission” and “communication” here and my own research into how Indian journalistic reporting, relaying, and the establishment can collapse into an indistinguishable voice (here):
The probem with transmission is that interest groups exploit media and skew agendas and debates. The problem is compounded by the television media where journalists, news show hosts, guests comment and sensationalise rather than investigate and then question.
Kishore Budha is one of the co-founders of Subaltern Media and the founder-editor of the peer-reviewed Open Access journal Wide Screen. He holds a PhD in media and communications studies from the University of Leeds, UK and has professional experience in print journalism, internet news, and public relations industries. His interests include Critical Theories of Media and Communication, Semiotics, Transnational Communication, Film industry & production, Film theory, Film and history, Communications Policy, Visual Culture, Communication Technologies, Web media and Communication
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