Government advertising makes mainstream media vulnerable
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TheWire.in, which I work for, is one of several websites that produce serious news with an eye to factual truth and non-partisan balance. Others include TheQuint.com, Scroll.in and ThePrint.in.
To some extent, our stamina results from personal commitment to professional journalistic work. It matters very much, however, that our business models do not depend on government advertising. As is true of many developing countries, such advertising has historically contributed the bulk of revenues to Indian news organisations. It typically still does, so long-established media houses are under huge pressure to toe the government line. It is no coincidence that independent news portals have proven similarly indispensable in other countries run by right-wing authoritarians. Examples include the Philippines (see Emmalyn Liwag Kotte onwww.dandc.eu) and Sri Lanka (see Arjuna Ranawana on www.dandc.eu).
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