The Controversy Surrounding Page 3 Journalism

Page 3 Journalism

Page 3 journalism is a form of tabloid journalism in which topless photographs of models are published. It first became popular in the UK when Rupert Murdoch relaunched The Sun as a tabloid newspaper in 1970, and it helped make models such as Samantha Fox household names.

In January 2015, The Sun dropped its topless Page 3 girls and replaced them with clothed glamour models. This change sparked controversy, with politicians such as Clare Short campaigning for a ban on the practice.

What is page 3 journalism?

Page 3 journalism is the practice of publishing photographs of celebrities, socialites, and models in a tabloid newspaper. The concept originated in the United Kingdom and is credited to Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper. The Sun introduced the feature in November 1970, which boosted its circulation and led to other red-top tabloids adopting it. The practice of publishing Page 3 images has been criticised by many people, including conservatives who view it as soft-core pornography and feminists who argue that it objectifies women’s bodies.

Vineet Jain, managing director of Times of India, is a proponent of Page 3. He says that the section serves a purpose in society by highlighting high-class achievers who party hard and are successful at their profession. He believes that it is important for young people to see these images, so they can aspire to become Page 3 celebrities themselves one day.

Other media honchos also support the Page 3 culture, arguing that it is necessary to keep up with the times and encourage a sense of aspiration among readers. Adman Suhel Seth has said that he is not opposed to the Page 3 concept, but only wants the media to focus on more meaningful stories and less on petty gossips.

Why is page 3 journalism so popular?

The Sun’s Page 3 has been a staple of British tabloid journalism for over 44 years. Its images of topless women – dubbed Page 3 girls – have drawn protests from feminists and launched the careers of glamorous models such as Samantha Fox, Nina Carter, and Katie Price.

Despite its critics, the newspaper claims that its Page 3 is popular with its readers. And a recent poll found that more than half of those who regularly buy the paper agree that it is still necessary for newspapers to report on celebrity gossip and events.

But critics argue that the obsession with Page 3 journalism is damaging to democracy. According to them, a healthy democracy requires citizens to be exposed to a wide range of views and opinions. Gradual trivialisation of news denies them this opportunity. And that’s why they call for policy interventions to improve journalism’s situation. But is that possible?

Is page 3 journalism sexist?

Much maligned and more often loved, the celebrity section of newspapers known as page 3 is in the midst of a heated debate. While some argue that it promotes a culture of personality cult and tabloidisation, others point out that it is serving its purpose by catering to the high society who want to know all the happenings in their social circles.

One such campaigner is Jo Cheetham, who grew up in Rotherham and now leads the ‘No More Page 3’ movement that successfully pushed The Sun newspaper to ditch its daily image of a topless model. She sees her battle against the macho media empire as both a class war and a fight against sexism.

Vineet Jain, managing director of Times of India, argues that while there is a need for page 3, it should not be skewed to highlight half-naked women. Instead, he suggests that the focus should be on promoting achievers from far-flung areas, people who have scaled new peaks and deserve recognition.

Is page 3 journalism a threat to democracy?

There’s no doubt journalism is due for a serious reckoning about how it supports the democratic public it claims to serve. But relentless production pressures, enforced by traffic metrics, make it all too tempting to cling to some of the profession’s worst habits.

Page 3 journalism is one such habit. A controversial practice, it originated in the United Kingdom with The Sun tabloid newspaper’s decision in November 1970 to print a large image of a topless female glamour model on its third page. This boosted the paper’s circulation and led other rivals to follow suit. The term “page 3 girl” became part of popular lexicon, and feminists accused the Sun of sexist journalism.

But Vineet Jain, managing director of Times of India, believes that Page 3 journalism is not a threat to democracy. He said at a recent panel discussion, “Has media gone Page 3?” that the section serves a purpose. “It helps those who want to be Page 3 celebrities, and it is an aspirational model for them.” The panel also included politician-industrialist Naveen Jindal, fashion icon Feroze Gujral, and adman Suhel Seth.

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