Media education can help tide over misinformation, bring in professionalism: N. Ram


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N. Ram, director, THG Publishing Private Limited.
| Photo Credit: The Hindu

N. Ram, director, The Hindu Group’s publishing company – THG Publishing Private Limited, on November 24, said the journalism profession is pessimistic about social media platforms due to the extent of mis-information and disinformation shared on the platforms.

However, he said media education can help tide over the disinformation and bring in professionalism.

He was in conversation with Ar Rm Arun, president, The Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI). It was part of the SICCI-360 initiative, wherein eminent guests share their views on current issues.

Responding to a question, Mr. Ram said there is good material available on various subjects, including science, on social media platforms such as Twitter, but there is also toxic stuff. He also said the concept of ‘Citizen Journalism’ has not come through, because of a lot of careless work and false news being shared.

Mr. Ram believed that media education could bring in professional ethics and sufficient number of people pick it up. He also emphasised on the need to be vigilant about misinformation and disinformation.

Mr. Ram said one of the key skills is verification of information, which is not only needed for journalists but also for social scientists and business people. He pointed out that The Hindu has been in a stronger position in facing disinformation by having sufficient protocols in place, in terms of verifying information.

Mr. Ram said one of the ways to guard against disinformation is by strengthening the brand reputation and being transparent. On the Adani Group takeover of NDTV, he said it is not a good sign for the Indian media.

However, he said he is willing to give time to see whether NDTV journalists would be allowed to function independently now.

Mr. Ram also said the subscription model is the way to go in the digital era. “You cannot depend on advertising. Giants such as Google, Facebook and Twitter command the numbers. You cannot compete with them. The subscription model by adding value to readers is the way to go. It has worked well for The Hindu,” he said.

Mr. Ram also said there is a long way to go on the digital front. Fortunately, while the print medium had declined, it had not collapsed like it did in the developed World. “This gave us a cushion to find a way forward in the digital age through trial and error,” he said.

Speaking about other issues, Mr. Ram said India has taken a correct stance on the Russia-Ukraine crisis. He said the war is likely to end by the first half of 2023 and it will come through a negotiated settlement.

Mr. Ram also said that on the social front, Tamil Nadu has done well when compared to other States, however it cannot be complacent.

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