Corruption among politicians, bureaucrats and the private sector has kept the Indian news media—television channels and newspapers—occupied and driven it to double its coverage of the issue in 2011 over 2010.
Between July and September 2011, the number of stories on corruption doubled thanks to social activist Anna Hazare’s fast in New Delhi.
CMS Media Lab collated the data in the Face of Corruption in News Media, 2011, report. CMS is a not-for-profit media organization dedicated to research-driven initiatives, and Media Lab tracks content across print, television, radio and the Internet.
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In the last six years, the coverage of corruption has jumped from under 1% to 8% on prime-time news channels and 6% in newspapers. The report took into account the front pages of six major national dailies in Hindi and English, prime-time stories (7-11pm) on six news channels (four in Hindi and two in English), and news bulletins on state-run All India Radio.
The news media did not cover grassroots level corruption. The English news channels focused on both institutions and individuals, while Hindi TV channels put the spotlight on individuals. State-run Doordarshan News also covered corruption-related stories extensively.
Seven major corruption stories dominated—among them were those pertaining to second-generation (2G) telecom spectrum allocation, contracts for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Mumbai’s Adarsh Housing Society, and the alleged money laundering and tax evasion by Mumbai stud farm owner Hasan Ali Khan.
Data Compiled by Abhilasha Ojha and Graphic by Yogesh Kumar/Mint