//Call for fair assessment of Internet users in India

Call for fair assessment of Internet users in India

CHENNAI: Though Internet journalism has started occupying the centre stage of the media eco-system in developed countries, regrettably, India still does not have a fair assessment of Internet users in the country, N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu , said on Friday.

Shortly before giving away the `8th Polestar Award for Excellence in Journalism' at a function held by the Polestar Foundation here, he said: "Though Nasscom gives bullish figures, nobody really knows the actual number. It is really unacceptable that an emerging software superpower is unable to tell the world how many Internet users are there in the country." In contrast to this, according to a recent survey, China had 111 million Internet users. In the United States, which had a population of 300 million, over 200 million fell in this category, he said.

"Television declining"

In a mature media market such as the United States and developed countries in the third world, broadcasting television, which was the dominant player till recently, had started declining. The broadcast journalism in the West was under pressure and attack from the Internet and various other emerging technologies, Mr. Ram said.

However, "We are living in a split media world."

Even as mature media markets, more particularly the print media and broadcast television, were in gloom and bordering on panic, a buoyant situation had emerged not only in India and China but also in many other countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, he said.

Business model

Against the backdrop of the emerging scenario, Mr. Ram urged Internet journalism to define its business model — whether it would be purely business-oriented or also news-oriented.

He handed over the Polestar trophy, citation and a cash award of Rs. 1 lakh for furthering education to Shelley Singh, Technology Editor, The Economic Times, and Kusum Makhija of Express Computer.

Mr. Singh won the award for the best feature in business journalism and Ms. Makhija for the best feature in IT journalism.

93 nominations

Polestar Foundation Founder Trustee Arun Jain said the awardees were chosen from 93 nominations from across seven cities.

He stressed the need for including journalism in the curriculum for graduation so that it would benefit different sections, including the corporate world.