Former Bihar deputy CM Sushil Modi (File photo)
Former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar and Member of Legislative Party (MLA) of Bihar Sushil Modi writes candidly on the media landscape in India in a piece with Economic Times on June 8.
In it, the minister touches on a range of issues from monopolistic power gained by Big Tech players like Facebook, Google, Twitter to the various issues currently plaguing the newsmaking practice in India.
Here are some key takeaways from the piece:
Rewriting the equation between technology platforms and news media is important
According to Modi, with the advent of technology platforms, there has been dip in the circulation of newspapers, resulting in many shuttering due to a drop in revenues. In this regard, Digital platforms have a significantly diminished product in the absence of the work of professionals who create reliable and high-quality content, he says. As a result, "rewriting this equation", is of vital importance, especially since News media is a public good, and there is a great social value to professional journalism.
Need to demand transparency from the advertising process on digital platform
In his piece, Sushil Modi highlights that while digital platforms have had an important role to play when it comes to amplifying news media as an intermediary, they also possess high market power and the potential to abuse this.
"The fear, though, is that if these companies are left to their own devices, they will have no reason to partner with smaller and new media organisations," he says, adding that there is potential for new media organisations to get crowded out, stripping them of financial independence, which Modi says is an "anathema for a thriving press".
Experience with Australia and Europe should advise India on developing a similar policy
Copyright rules have strengthened the negotiating position for news media, Modi argues. This is especially since marginal players who don’t have the economic might to achieve balanced agreements with these technology companies who have the potential to refuse any negotiation, he says.
According to the minister, Australia and Europe's decision to double down on tech platforms monopoly reflects the need to have binding rules that tackle the inequality in between tech gatekeepers and publishers.
This is where the world will look at India, which has been an example for using technology in governance, Modi stresses.
"Hence, the world will be watching how it tackles this conundrum. No unelected, for-profit foreign organisation that has zero accountability to the people of India should be allowed to challenge the Indian sovereign," he concludes.