Political analyst Shehzad Poonawala calls for use of technology to regulate ratings system
GN Bureau | January 26, 2021
In a scathing attack on media, political analyst Shehzad Poonawala has said that the time of media is gone and anyone with a smartphone and a social media account can be a journalist today.
While speaking to Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, during the Visionary Talk series held by the public policy and governance analysis platform, Poonawala said that with the social media becoming democratized today a new journalism is emerging where you can take a picture, write the story and directly post it.
“The journalists and the media must understand that journalism has democratized and become dynamic today. It is no longer aligned to a particular ideology, party or family which has been happening for the last 70 years. Whoever has a smartphone and a social media account is a journalist. Today a new journalism is emerging where you can take a picture, write the story and directly post it.”
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Responding to the question on the controversial and much debated issue of hiking up TRP ratings where names of some mainstream media houses have come up tarnishing their credibility and on being asked if the audience can really trust news media, Poonawala while giving the example of YouTube said you can see the number of subscribers a YouTube channel has.
He said technology has become advanced and sophisticated. It can be used to bring in transparency and genuine ratings as it is ratings that influence advertising and subsequently generate revenues for companies which then they can pass on. “Unfair system hurts a person playing fairly because he has not resorted to liasoning or fixing. It demoralizes people working under him, puts the company to financial losses and forces it to close it down. Bringing in more technology and an independent regulatory mechanism will bring in transparency.”
He also said that today's audience is receiving content from various mediums where news itself is being consumed via social media and asked if these platforms too are being rated.
Taking a dig at a media house, Poonawala said their journalists had a very cozy relationship with the governance structure and government and they would decide cabinet formation on their phone. “Today these people have no power structure. No one recognizes them because they were doing propaganda for a particular family. Today this kind of journalism is over. ‘Left, right and centre’ people have seen what kind of journalism it is.”
He also mocked the recent incident where a channel’s senior journalist claimed she became a victim of a ‘con’ job offer to teach at Harvard University and questioned the basis on which the channel’s journalists analyzed and checked news before reporting.
While speaking on India’s largest vaccination drive, Poonawala said initially there was a big politics over Covid -19 management and handling and said earlier they questioned why the PM was not imposing a lockdown. After the PM imposed lockdown they started saying lockdown has destroyed economy and said that migrants should be allowed to go home. When migrants were sent home, they questioned why they were sent home as it increased infection. When the government decided to unlock they questioned that too. Then they said when vaccine has come in the UK and the US why is it not coming in India. When the vaccine came, they said it is BJP’s vaccine and render a person impotent and asked why the PM is not getting vaccinated. “Can politics be done over pandemic and public health? With the PM sending out a message that frontline workers will be vaccinated in Phase 1, this has put an end to end to the VVIP culture of entitlement,” he said as he added that worldwide prime minister Narendra Modi has been recognized as the top leader for management and handling of Covid-19 induced lockdown.
The political commentator known for his ideological alignment when asked to react on the fact that without formally being part of BJP, holding responsibility, accountability and authority, yet he is considered a part of the party said it is unfortunate that when he talks of nationalism, appeasement of Muslims and respect for Jawans he is construed as pro-Modi. “The opposition has to think and decide that if somebody is holding the flag of nationalism, why it is interpreted to be the narrative of a particular political party,” asked Poonawala.
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