As per research, the report in The Economist outlined, the newspaper industry is on the decline in America and Western Europe.
But, they are thriving in emerging markets, especially India. Many years down the line, in several large markets globally, print media has lost its readership after social media because many people reach online not print newspapers and the number of readers to online news. In a trend be seen a corresponding reconfiguration in content.
In a survey by the media in 2017, the investment agency Group said that “India is the only large market in the world where print is growing.”
The Indian Readership Survey 2017 showed that the print media in India added 110 million new readers between 2014 and 2017, and a whopping 40 percent jump in readership. Television and online news media have similarly witnessed exponential growth in the Indian market.
The bullish growth story should not be confused with a vibrant and free press. IN media freedom of the press does not only mean freedom of direct State, government, or any corporate ownership of the news media, but it also means freedom from the insidious ways in which such controls operate regardless of the ownership patterns.
Independent India saw its first major threat to its free press when then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared a state of national emergency between 1975 and 1977. She went on to order raids in newspaper offices and shut down many of them. Today the controls work and flourish much more stealthily.
The heavy dependence of Indian news media on advertising revenue leads to news often being compromised or subject to self-censorship. . Similarly, the dependence on government ads, especially during elections, has been one of the most effective ways of media control in India.
This dependence is a cause of concern for freedom of the press more so in recent times with the resurgence of a Hindu right-wing establishment that thrives on the marginalization of minority communities.
Half a century ago, Arthur Miller remarked and said that a good newspaper is a nation talking to itself. In India, any attempt to have such a conversation that questions that government is labeled as ‘anti-national’ as the nation is conflated with the establishment.
This complicity is evident in the brazenness of certain news channels which have taken it upon themselves to defend the government at any cost and in the silence of newspapers that refuse to report on certain issues that call the role of the government into question.