The media is pilloried, and rightly so, for erasing the line between editorial and advertising. Space sellers are slammed, and rightly so, for allowing advertisers and agencies to run riot. And publishers and editors are pilloried, and rightly so, for not standing up and telling advertisers, agencies and space sellers where to get off.
But what when the advertiser is the government, as the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) is?
And what when the government as advertiser tries to set the editorial rules and guidelines in a tight advertising market, when it tells you how to write the article, how to do the layout, and what kind of newsprint to choose, all in the name of public awareness?
Also read: Pyramid Saimira, Tatva & Times Private Treaties
Times Private Treaties gets a very public airing
SUCHETA DALAL: Forget the news, you can’t believe the ads either
SALIL TRIPATHI: The first casualty of a cosy deal is credibility
PAUL BECKETT: Indian media holding Indian democracy ransom
PRATAP BHANU MEHTA: ‘Indian media in deeply murky ethical territory’
Time and again publishers have shown the way to advertisers. First they allowed people to advertise right below their mastheads. Then they invented the advertorial. Advertorial was invented by a publisher and not by the advertiser. Selling editorial pages, a recent trend, is an innovation of the Indian media. If Indian and foreign enterprises can ask newspapers to bend the rules why not the government?
BTW, nowadays response/focus/spotlight features read better than news stories
Advertisers doling out huge advertising budgets have every right to get their RoI. NDMA being a ‘social-organisation’ has done nothing wrong in putting its point of view. Ultimatelt its for the publishers to deny or accept it. Recently India Today have done this deal with Haryana Government on the eve of election assignment surely for a premium.So logically advertisers can demand.And publishers should just see that these does not in any way decrease their credibility.