[Editorial Analysis] Social media cannot replace proper news journalism

Mains Paper 4: Ethics
Prelims level: UNESCO
Mains level: Media Ethics

Context:

• In the last hundred years, the national Indian media — traditional and now “new” media — has grown exponentially in number and influence.

• However, with new threats of disinformation emerging and with the health crisis revealing that information is actually a lifesaver, education in Journalism is becoming increasingly necessary.

Education in Journalism:

• History: In India, the discipline of “Journalism Education” was introduced by British activist Annie Besant in the 1920s, when she launched a course on journalism at the National University at Adyar, Madras.

• Current Scenario: There are now about 900 Indian colleges and institutes offering mass communication and journalism programmes.

Need for certified courses in Journalism:

• Growth in Numbers: In the recent past commercial media and numerous digital journalism platforms have emerged, which has also opened avenues for citizen journalism.

• Need for Quality information: UNESCO mandate upholds freedom of the press and the free flow of information. The challenge is to ensure that this flow includes high quality information.

• To foster democracy: Citizens cannot exercise and enjoy their citizenship in the absence of crucial information. Professional journalistic standards are essential to bring out the potential of media systems to foster democracy, dialogue and development.

• Doubts in Journalism: We see, however, that recent trends have placed journalism under fire. A range of factors are transforming the communications landscape, raising questions about the quality, impact and credibility of journalism.

Various initiatives by UNESCO:

• UNESCO set up the Global Initiative for Excellence in Journalism Education in 2014 to leverage lessons learned during our support to African schools of journalism, and apply them in the wider context of our support for journalism education globally.

• Development of “new literacies” in response to the challenges of a fast-changing world. They assemble experts to develop syllabi on issues such as climate change, data journalism, science journalism, etc.

• Publications: a handbook named, ‘Journalism, ‘Fake News’ and Disinformation’, which is an issue that we have all become familiar with.

• Many of the schools that UNESCO supported over the years have become stronger and acquired a greater capacity to be a strategic part of a global network of journalism schools of excellence.

Way forward:

• Many stakeholders must join hands and accelerate efforts. This includes media houses and media training institutions, governments and other partners.

• Addressing quality issues and the exploitation of students by some educational institutions. The objective should be to constantly improve the quality of media training, while ensuring access to everyone.

• The other pressing concern relates to the dynamic nature of the communication and information technologies that are reshaping the media landscape.

Conclusion:

• Social media cannot replace the production of proper news journalism, even if they compete very seriously for time and advertising. In this regard, we see the implementation of the National Education Policy, 2020, as an opportunity.

• It encourages us to make media education holistic, multidisciplinary and inclusive of the latest technological advancements. We must certainly evolve our teaching techniques keeping in view these challenges.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the Indian Royal Jelly, consider the following statements:

1. For the first time, Indian Royal Jelly has been found to surpass top-quality sellers, including those produced in Thailand and Taiwan.

2. Royal Jelly is a pearly white or pale yellow-coloured cohesive mixture of honey and secretions from the hypopharyngeal and mandibular glands of worker honeybees.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C

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