Media houses must explain position on Cobrapost sting which alleged malpractices, says Editors Guild

New Delhi: The Editors Guild of India on Thursday expressed concern over web portal Cobrapost's sting which alleged malpractices by some media houses and urged media organisations to explain their position to the people. The Guild also said that the media is under attack from different quarters in an environment that requires journalists to be extraordinarily vigilant and conscious of the need to adhere to the highest standards of free and fair journalism.

 Media houses must explain position on Cobrapost sting which alleged malpractices, says Editors Guild

Representational image. Reuters

The Guild, in a statement, said management and proprietors should recognise the complex challenges they and their journalists face and respond to them in a way that no one can cast aspersions on their credibility and fairness.

"Editorial freedoms must be fully respected. Paid news, even a suggestion of it, is ruinous for the media's image," it said. News website 'Cobrapost' had come with a sting alleging that some media organisations' representatives were willing to publicise some "agenda" for revenue. The Guild said that while it cannot ascertain the veracity of the tapes, it urges media organisations, whose representatives were purportedly caught engaged in inappropriate conversations, "to explain their conduct to their readers and the public at large".

"They must squarely address the charge that some media organisations seem inclined to sell editorial content for revenue," the Guild said.

"There can be no compromise on maintaining the wall between editorial and advertising. All sponsored and advertorial content must be clearly identified and demarcated," it said. The Guild also drew attention to the 'Code of Practice for Journalists' adopted by it in 2002 and subsequently revised in 2007.

In another statement, the Editors Guild unequivocally condemned the threats of physical violence and viciously abusive online and social media attack against several journalists recently. Noting that the spirit of democracy can only be kept alive through a free, fair and independent media, the Guild reiterated that any attempt to physically threaten, or verbally abuse and humiliate those who offer commentary, reportage or analysis can seriously undermine the functioning of democracy.

"Any difference of opinion should be challenged with another set of views and not by a threat of physical violence, or online calumny," it said. The Guild also urged the government at the Centre and in states to show a much greater sense of urgency to provide protection to the journalists threatened with physical violence and bring to book those, who are issuing such threats.

"The government must initiate quick action on complaints by these victims and bring the guilty to book. There is no room for laxity her," it said.

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Updated Date: May 31, 2018 22:36:37 IST