The primary and most highest ideal of reporting and journalism is:
सत्यमेव जयते Satyameva Jayate – Truth alone Triumphs.
In these times media plays a very important role in influencing public opinion and public policy.
Media agencies also indulge in paid news promotion and articles and media personnel have conflicts of interest and vested personal, business and social relationships.
For any media agency that has a circulation of more than 20000 readers/viewers, following should be the rules:
There should not be a single owner holding more than 5% of the equity of the company if the equity of the company is more than Rs 10 crores or the annual revenues are more than Rs 20 crores.
Exemptions to this clause can be made if if is established that at least for the last 10 years the promoter family has not indulged in any favouritism or fake news and only indulged in fair, fearless and unbiased reporting even if it put their organisation in danger like Katherine Graham did in one of my favourite movies.
Single owners implies any family, not just the individual in an capacity of charitable trust, individual or corporate company.
To regulate the media agency there should a board of independent directors of retired independent members with an independent source of income or a pension comprising of:
- One retired member of the Judiciary from each gender
- One retired member of the Election commission from each gender
- One retired member of the vigilance commission and Lok Pal from each gender
- One retired member of the Income tax commission from each gender
- One retired member from the Defenders of the State from each gender
- One retired member from each major political party of the area from each gender who is not currently serving or has served for the last 10 years in either the council of Arya Peers or in the council of Elected Representatives.
- Four eminent nonpolitical elders (above 40 years) from the area equally divided into both genders
- Four members from the True Temples local to the area equally divided into both genders
- Four eminent members from the farmer community local to the state equally divided into both genders
- Four eminent members from the artisan community local to the district equally divided into both genders
- Four members from the local students of the area from 8th standard onwards upto post graduate equally divided into both genders
All media including single individual blog writers that have a circulation of more than 20000 readers/viewers must declare the following:
- Annual audited accounts of all income receipts detailed client wise, especially from commercial organisations and political parties and persons affiliated to these agencies.
- Annual declarations from key media personnel about any gifts or promotions or any other compliments above Rs 5000 that they have received from any person or organisation.
- Annual declarations of key media personnel of any conflicts of interest and any personal, business or social relationships/interests that they may have to the agencies whose news they publish and advertisements that they accept.
- Annual audited accounts, income tax returns and balance sheets of key media personnel.
- Annual declaration of assets, affidavits with regard to legal and criminal cases pending against them similar to the lines of affidavits currently given by our electoral representatives.
The above should be publicly published in the Internet and available to any person including the ordinary citizen.
There should be a special whistleblower cell created which deals with all complaints regarding media malpractices especially from employees or insiders connected with the media.