‘Responsible journalism should not suffer’: I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar slams TRP-driven news coverage

Union Information & Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar has slammed the TRP or Television Rating Point driven journalism on Wednesday, urging the media industry to “find a way” to restrain itself.

“We believe in self-regulation and freedom of the media. But the media needs to re-think TRPs. There should be a better way to monitor popularity. Responsible journalism should not suffer due to the pressure of TRP,” Javadekar said.

He added that when BARC, the agency that currently monitors television ratings, came into play, he had welcomed the move as he thought it would pave the way for self-regulation. But now those who created it are themselves coming and complaining about it, he added.

Javadekar asked the audience to “remember” the kind of reportage that came out in the last “2 weeks or 2 months”. Javadekar said that the media industry, at some point, will need to “stop, rectify or come out with a better version” of the current TRP model.

The I&B minister said that there is a difference between a system that determines popularity and a system that is forced to show “inciteful news”. “The government trusts the media and its independence. Media needs to find a way how it can enjoy that freedom with self-restraint,” urged the Minister.

He said it started with ‘yellow journalism’ and went on to be ‘paid news’, ‘fake news’ and subsequently ‘TRP journalism’. Javadekar was speaking at an event where RSS Supremo Mohan Bhagwat was also present.

Interestingly, Javadekar’s outburst comes soon after IANS CVoter Media Tracker showed almost 74 per cent of the respondents treat news channels as a source of entertainment rather than real news and a whopping 76 per cent respondents found both categories of programming – news channels and soap operas prone to sensationalising.