Role of the Media in Championing CSR

The articles till now have focused on how corporations need to embrace CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) as a business imperative. The emphasis mostly was on how there are business needs to adopt CSR and it is high time the corporations became socially conscious.

In this article, we look at the role of the Media in championing CSR. Indeed, the media have a huge role to play in how CSR is broadcast to the world at large. It is simply not enough for corporations to do their bit for social causes. They must also let the world know so that others are inspired and they set an example for others to follow. Of course, we are not talking about “advertising” CSR per se because then it would fall into the category of the corporations trumpeting their achievements like they would do when they launch new products.

On the other hand, what we are saying is that they must follow the example of ITC and Vedanta that have created brilliant ads that portray their values and showcase the excellent work that they have been doing. There are other companies like Shell that have come out with innovative ways to reach out to the people about their CSR initiatives.

Apart from creating appealing and conscious ads, corporations must enlist the cooperation and support of media in spreading awareness about CSR to the people at large. In the final analysis, CSR is all about helping society look beyond profits and hence the media (which is a guardian of public good) has a stellar role to play in this endeavor.

The media can be used to seek volunteers from the society or the specific places where the corporations are launching their CSR initiatives. Further, they can be used to publish articles pertaining to the values and the mission of the company in promoting CSR. An excellent example of this relationship is the way Infosys is covered in the media. There are very few articles which do not mention the respect and the adulation that Infosys commands from the Indian public at large and this has been made possible because of adroit media coverage. The way in which the social initiatives undertaken by Infosys have been covered in the media speaks volumes about how well the company has managed its media coverage.

Apart from this, the media can also act as a conscience keeper by constantly reminding corporations about the need to give back to society and to look beyond profits. Internationally, The Guardian Newspaper has been at the forefront of demanding accountability and transparency from the corporations. In India, The Hindu does a good job of publishing articles and editorials that exhort the corporations to be socially conscious.

Finally, the media can also take a critical view of the CSR programs that a corporation claims to run and it can ensure that the corporation is not indulging in “Green Washing” which is the case where a corporation pretends to follow CSR but in reality does not do so.

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Corporate Social Responsibility