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Private channels serve prime time news shows that resemble wresting matches: Prasar Bharati chairman

MUMBAI: Prime time news served by private broadcasters has come under criticism again. Prasar Bharati chairman A Surya Prakash said that these channels are treating news as “entertainment” while their shows are resembling WWF wrestling matches.

“So what is happening during 8.30 pm to 11 pm prime time band? There is no news, only noise. What is the competition (between channels)—shrill, shriller and shrillest? Who can shout the loudest? It has become like WWF wrestling match,” Prakash said, while speaking on ‘Media in India’ at the National Convocation of International Goodwill Society of India.

The viewers, he urged, should demand responsibility from media organisations.

Calling private citizens as ‘Mi-Baap (Godfather) of not only media but entire democracy’, Prakash said they must demand balance, responsibility and truth from all institutions.

“Why do you make an exception for media? Actually the citizens must become far more demanding and alert. You pay Rs 300-400 for a cable connection, you must demand responsible media. If you find a media house irresponsible you must tick him off.”

Prakash is against any government role in the regulation of media. He suggested that people should form groups like ‘media watchers’ to create ‘citizenry pressure’ to enable better media.

Self-regulation should be the practice in a climate where news is tailored, there is lack of objectivity, and paid news is gaining ground.

“I am of the view that regulation must be self regulation for media… It should not come from the government. There should be no governmental regulation of media,” he said.

Prakash said the public broadcaster should inform, educate and entertain, in the said order.

“We cannot entertain first and inform later,” the Prasar Bharati chairman said, accusing private channels of treating news, not as news, but as entertainment.