If you were to look at the state of media today as compared to a few years ago, the scenario has completely changed.

With the second media revolution coming on the form of digitisation, the playing field has totally changed. The relatively limited audience that media houses once possessed has blown up into proportions that span multiple countries across the globe.

And it is because of this very reason that the media has gained prominence as a tool to wield influence over the people.

An issue that has come up with this revolution is that of sustainability, sustaining such a large audience outreach and continuously expanding this outreach takes a lot of funds, funds which often are not generated by revenue.

Here is where media houses have to rely on private players. These private players have a tendency to exert a biasing influence on the media house which degrades the quality of content which is produced.

This biasing influence is very, very useful as in this time of mass reach, the false story quickly becomes sensational, implanting false ideas into people’s minds.

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A prime example would be the potshot that was taken on the Adani Group by The Guardian in relation to an alleged scam of $15 billion, combined with a show on the ABC for the same.

But the catch lies in the fact that the report is over 3 years old and the matter is already being investigated by the DRI.

A fact that the group has also pointed out in a statement:

Adani Group is aware of the investigations being conducted by the DRI, and has fully co-operated, and shall continue to co-operate with the investigating agencies. Adani Group continues to align its vision with the national priorities of infrastructure development, food security, energy security and clean energy.

What is noteworthy is that this allegation comes at a time when the Adani Group is about to kick off Australia’s ambitious coal project. A project which will greatly benefit the economy and the people. But there remains an active group of people who seek to undermine the efforts of the group by spreading misinformation.

This lobby has also accused the group of polluting the wetlands near the project.

This accusation was proved false later on as the sample on which the report was based was taken from the wrong area.

The water they said was from the pond area was actually from an area used to isolate and hold the coal. And the black pond they were referring to was not man made but a natural phenomenon.

People often sideline the positive aspects of an organization when sensational news is pitted against them. They forget that there was an article in ET praising the group’s corporate responsibility. There was also an endorsement by the Maritime Standard about the excellent work by Adani Ports.

Their total solar power output is a whopping 838 MW. Moreover they have plans for a 1000 MW plant in Australia itself.

But unfortunately, the lobby has still tried to paint  the group in a bad light as a thermal giant which prefers profits over the environment while clearly ignoring the fact that the group constructed one of the world’s largest solar plants in Tamil Nadu.

And here is where the vested interests in media cause a humongous problem. They misrepresent the facts to further their agenda and undermine the good work that is being done simply so that their affiliates come out on the top.

As continued in Adani Group’s official statement, “Adani Group strongly denies the motivated statements and reports which are brought out with ulterior motives to create sensationalism only. As a responsible corporate citizen, all our transactions are always conducted within the framework of extant regulatory guidelines and provisions. It is a standard procedure for the Group to follow International Competitive Bidding (ICD) route for major capital expenditures to ensure transparency and competitiveness in the process.

The fact that our projects have incurred the lowest cost across central, state and private utility players has gone to establish the robustness of the processes followed by our group.”

Take the case of Nestlé. One single report of there being lead in Maggi forced such a media trial on them that Nestlé had to pay 20 crore rupees just to destroy the packets of Maggi, as well as face a loss of 64cr, their first within 15 years and they had to recall over 200,000 tons.

The real reason here was simply that Nestlé simply wrote that there was no added MSG and everyone assumed that there simply was no MSG and lo behold, there was. Where a simple clarification would have done, a reputed company like Nestlé was hounded in public and its reputation ruined.

Another example would be Mcdonalds where it was accused by Greenpeace of false, ridiculous allegations such as that it destroys rainforests, alters food with artificial chemistry, exploits children with its advertising. This case went over for 10 years and in the end McDonalds won and awarded compensation of $40,000 which they did not take. Mcdonalds reputation however, was severely damaged.

These are both examples of companies who were needlessly attacked by the media and had their reputations tarnished. Even if they were vindicated in the end, their reputations could not be restored and public opinion for them was changed forever.

This article about adani just shows how media is used to target and tarnish well respected publicly listed entity in which millions of shareholders have invested with faith, with its suspicious timing and clear bias is also such an effort to create hype and sensationalise the issue.

It is, as Donald Trump would say ‘Fake News’.


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