Recently, there has been lot of hues and cries for ‘Paid News’ in mass media across the world and ‘Paid Science News’ cannot be seen in isolation. The paper examines the circumstances where science news can be attributed to be paid news. It tries to draw thin lines between paid, sponsored, packaged, managed, imposed, cooked-up and hypothetical research and media stories, where involvement of external source in ‘influencing’ research reports of scientists or media reports of journalists cannot be ruled out. The paper presents a study of various facets of paid science news, views and features that appear in mass media, print, broadcast, and online, where scientists are paid to be lie in their research findings and journalists are paid to hide the truth in their media reports. The Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee presented its report on the “Issues Related to Paid News” in the Indian Parliament on May 6, 2013, headed by Rao Inderjit Singh, Member of Parliament, after the issues of paid news came to limelight and raised at various levels. The Press Council of India has defined paid news as ‘any news or analysis appearing in print or electronic media for consideration in cash or kind’ in its report on ‘Paid News’ given on July 30, 2010. In the U.K., an enquiry was announced to “Investigate the Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press”, chaired by Lord Justice Leveson; the report was published on November 29, 2012. A comparison of these 3 independent reports suggests that generally they recommend ‘steps to address the issues related to paid news without imposing state’s control over media for want of freedom of speech’. It also draws insights for understanding implications of paid science news that compromise ‘scientific validation’ and ‘journalistic scrutiny’. Besides image damaging and profit dampening to life threatening impact of paid science news, the paper also reveals good aspects of paid science news important for science awareness. The issue of increasing influence of commerce on scientific research has been the cause of concerns the world over. Things have reached the point where commercial compulsions are making fundamental changes the way science is done and the way it is communicated. It emerged that besides the role of a scientist and journalist, the role of a ‘policy decision maker’ is crucial especially for ‘balanced science news’ and therefore, emphasis on ‘responsible science’ and ‘responsible journalism’ would be decisive.

">
 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Paid science news
An inclusive analysis

Manoj Patairiya   National Council for Science & Technology Communication, India

Recently, there has been lot of hues and cries for ‘Paid News’ in mass media across the world and ‘Paid Science News’ cannot be seen in isolation. The paper examines the circumstances where science news can be attributed to be paid news. It tries to draw thin lines between paid, sponsored, packaged, managed, imposed, cooked-up and hypothetical research and media stories, where involvement of external source in ‘influencing’ research reports of scientists or media reports of journalists cannot be ruled out. The paper presents a study of various facets of paid science news, views and features that appear in mass media, print, broadcast, and online, where scientists are paid to be lie in their research findings and journalists are paid to hide the truth in their media reports. The Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee presented its report on the “Issues Related to Paid News” in the Indian Parliament on May 6, 2013, headed by Rao Inderjit Singh, Member of Parliament, after the issues of paid news came to limelight and raised at various levels. The Press Council of India has defined paid news as ‘any news or analysis appearing in print or electronic media for consideration in cash or kind’ in its report on ‘Paid News’ given on July 30, 2010. In the U.K., an enquiry was announced to “Investigate the Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press”, chaired by Lord Justice Leveson; the report was published on November 29, 2012. A comparison of these 3 independent reports suggests that generally they recommend ‘steps to address the issues related to paid news without imposing state’s control over media for want of freedom of speech’. It also draws insights for understanding implications of paid science news that compromise ‘scientific validation’ and ‘journalistic scrutiny’. Besides image damaging and profit dampening to life threatening impact of paid science news, the paper also reveals good aspects of paid science news important for science awareness. The issue of increasing influence of commerce on scientific research has been the cause of concerns the world over. Things have reached the point where commercial compulsions are making fundamental changes the way science is done and the way it is communicated. It emerged that besides the role of a scientist and journalist, the role of a ‘policy decision maker’ is crucial especially for ‘balanced science news’ and therefore, emphasis on ‘responsible science’ and ‘responsible journalism’ would be decisive.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

BACK TO TOP