Assam: Onus on scribes to counter fake news, says Australian editor

Guwahati (Assam), Oct 13: Alternate media in India is growing, but newspapers in the country still have a future. “After all, more than half the population in India lack Internet access, which means the daily newspaper continues to be a source of news that can be shared between users,” said Alan Gray, editor cum proprietor of the highly followed news portal ‘Newsblaze’.

Interacting through video-conferencing from Jerrabomberra in Australia with scribes in the city on Friday as part of ‘Meet the Press’ programme by Guwahati Press Club, Gray said that in all media forms, the basics remain the same. The aspiring journalist must do proper groundwork and write a good story, whatever be the format, he said. In this context, he said that journalists in Australia strive to maintain high professional standards, and enjoy a fair degree of job security and good pay package.

“The Australian press is quite nationalistic, but it is issue-based and scribes do not shrink from constructive criticism,” Gray said. He pointed out that various media forms in Australia, including the press, radio, television and alternative media, all coexist in their own space in a dynamic landscape.

While he is yet to come across any journalist of Indian origin active in Australia, Gray said that Indian issues are given due coverage by Australian media. “We do receive a good amount of write-ups from Indian contributors, though the quality is sometimes uneven. A considerable number of unskilled and inexperienced people are entering this field. Some media house managements seem to prefer raw recruits rather than experience journalists to cut down on expenses, which explains the poor quality work often seen floating around,” he said.

As for alternate media, the ubiquity of smartphones is making it grow by leaps and bounds.

Agreeing that fake news is emerging as a major threat to both alternate as well as mainstream media, Gray said that this puts a greater responsibility on journalists worth their salt. “To maintain credibility and retain the trust of readers or viewers, journalists have all the more reason to be committed and pursue excellence in their chosen profession,” he signed off.

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