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Partisan journalism continues to rule with an untrammeled pen


By Moin Qazi*
The Supreme Court’s latest observation on the media has to be viewed in the right spirit by the journalists’ fraternity. A bench of CJI Misra, Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said, “We are sorry to say some journalists think as if they are sitting in the pulpit and can write anything. That is not journalistic independence or culture. They think they can get away with anything. That is not journalists’ right to freedom of speech and expression.”
A free press is certainly lifeblood of our democracy and its presence is a constraint on an irresponsible government: it forms a critical part of a three-legged stool: the rule of law, enforced by an independent judiciary, and regular and fair elections are the other two. Remove one, and the other two collapses. by looking critically at elected officials’ actions (or inaction), the journalists are supposed to ensure that those who govern remain accountable to those who put them there we need the press to protect us against abuses of state power; but we also need the state to protect us from abuses of media power.There must be a right balance between the public’s need to know and individuals’ right to privacy.
Despite media codes and press laws partisan journalism continues to rule with an untrammeled pen. The press enjoys the widest freedom. Here again, the main concern is not to infringe the letter of the law. There is no moral responsibility for deformation or disproportion.
As the media privileges sensation over substance ,the journalists’ incentive to perform due diligence in researching stories and verifying claims has weakened There is now a vey cavalier attitude in media toward .So a blaze of unverified and lurid headlines does untold damage What sort of responsibility does a journalist have to his readers, or to history? If they have misled public opinion or the government by inaccurate information or wrong conclusions, do we know of any cases of public recognition and rectification of such mistakes by the same journalist or the same newspaper?
There is a reluctance to off corrections .When corrections are issued, they are too feeble and come too late to restore innocent people’s reputations .A nation may be the victim of such a mistake, but the journalist always gets away with it. One may safely assume that he will start writing the opposite with renewed self-assurance. A newspaper gives owner a potent form of soft power and can be a political weapon even if not wielded overtly .The basic assumption that freedom of press is indispensable to offer to the public all points of view involved in public issues and to give a truthful account of events so that the reader may freely decide from his considered view on each issue is defeated if every newspaper gives a biased or coloured report of news and advocates only one of the solutions, namely, that advocated by the party or group which conducts that newspaper .
The twin foci of the media today are the minutiae of party politics and the worship of wealth and celebrity. Billionaires, fashion models, sports stars and film stars occupy a disproportionate amount of space in print and on television. By contrast, education and health-related issues, gender and caste based injustices and human rights abuse account for a miniscule per cent of the editorial space in Indian newspapers. The Indian media can pay a powerful role in leveling the country’s social divide. This “inequality of articulation and attention”, writes Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen and Jeane Drèze, “makes an overwhelming disparity in the lives of people both less discussed and correspondingly more resilient and stable”.
There is a tendency for journalists to become preachy. Some editors think they run the country, or at least set the agenda for the country. This is not to obscure the stellar work of the journalistic siblings of editors who have many a time roused people by their fiery pen.
Journalists are no longer seen as knights in shining armour fighting evil wherever it may exist. They are seen, with honorable exceptions, as fixers, people who can be purchased with flattery combined with a little access and, more worryingly, cash.
The rise of blogs has greatly enlarged and confused the market. The opinion of the blogosphere is having a growing influence over the most serious political, economic, and social processes. Bloggers run the risk of appropriating to themselves the right to comment on everything under the sun, to pontificate on matters with which they may have just a cursory relationship. There is no filtering point for blogs, like we have in letters sent to editors and the blogosphere could get cluttered by much casual and non-serious stuff which would only obscure the more qualitative of well researched dispatches.
In many young journalists whom I meet these days, there’s a certainty about themselves and their work that springs, I am afraid, not from genuine self-confidence but from a false swagger about being in a business that fetches invitations to glamorous events. During my long career as a development practitioner and media manager for my organisation, I found an acute obsession in most journalists for negative stories that had the potential of fetching them impressive bylines. Positive development stories were always hard to deliver.
There was a time when investigative reporting was frowned upon. Even honest reporting was branded yellow journalism. Investigative reporting soon became the highest service a journalist could do to his profession and society. India’s highest judicial body, the Supreme Court handed and several landmark judgments following seriously researched and properly documented reports of injustices at the grassroots level.
All of us from the media–from the most powerful columnists to the tiniest bloggers-need to be careful about what we put out into the cloud. Our keyboards have become so powerful now, that our slightest action of irresponsibility can blow us up into a crisis. Can we, members of the media, also not cooperate to stave off negativity from ruling the psychology of our people? Can we not underscore every negative report with a story of heroism and leadership, such that we focus not on the dark side of the human condition, but rather, make that extra effort to draw out what continues to burn as the eternal flame of the indomitable?
Since instant and credible information has to be given, it becomes necessary to resort to guesswork, rumors and suppositions to fill in the voids, and none of them will ever be rectified, they will stay on in the readers’ memory. How many hasty, immature, superficial and misleading judgments are expressed every day confusing the common reader?
The baby boomers in the news business certainly did cut our teeth on huge stories that raised powerful emotions, though another generation of journalists is now also in place. It is the older journalists who have defined newsroom values, and for us, these events provided a fertile breeding ground for a low- key, backburner liberalism.
In the pursuit of truth and fairness, no price is too high to pay. Let us make that extra call, take that extra trip, visit that additional source — then do it all over again until you are truly convinced that your story is as accurate, as fair and as thorough as humanly possible.
I remember a young journalist desperate to make to the national media. He was always on the hunt for a story that would catapult him to the national league. He coldly hunted stories for a page-one byline. He did not allow a corrective conscience. Within hours of reaching the village, his story was ready – a villainous moneylender killed by long-suffering villagers. But the young inquisitive journalist had also unearthed a disconcerting fact: the moneylender was a kind-hearted, generous man whose death was being used to intimidate other moneylenders. Outstanding loans are written off by the moneylender to buy peace with villagers, but the politically well-connected and dangerous moneylenders plan a brutal retribution. The young emotionally driven journalist hates the half-truth he reports, but covets the byline it gets him?’
*Development sector

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देशव्यापी ग्रामीण भारत बंध में उतरे मध्य प्रदेश के आदिवासी, किया केंद्र सरकार का विरोध

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How the slogan Jai Bhim gained momentum as movement of popularity and revolution

By Dr Kapilendra Das*  India is an incomprehensible plural country loaded with diversities of religions, castes, cultures, languages, dialects, tribes, societies, costumes, etc. The Indians have good manners/etiquette (decent social conduct, gesture, courtesy, politeness) that build healthy relationships and take them ahead to life. In many parts of India, in many situations, and on formal occasions, it is common for people of India to express and exchange respect, greetings, and salutation for which we people usually use words and phrases like- Namaskar, Namaste, Pranam, Ram Ram, Jai Ram ji, Jai Sriram, Good morning, shubha sakal, Radhe Radhe, Jai Bajarangabali, Jai Gopal, Jai Jai, Supravat, Good night, Shuvaratri, Jai Bhole, Salaam walekam, Walekam salaam, Radhaswami, Namo Buddhaya, Jai Bhim, Hello, and so on.

રામનવમીના દિવસે મુસ્લિમ ધાર્મિક સ્થળો અને વિસ્તારોને અસામાજિક તત્વોથી રક્ષણ આપવી

- મુજાહિદ નફીસ*  પોલિસ મહાનિદેશક, ગુજરાત, ને આવનારા રામનવમીના તહેવારમાં નીકળતા જુલૂસમાં આવતા અસામાજિક તત્વોથી મુસ્લિમ ધાર્મિક સ્થળો અને મુસ્લિમ વિસ્તારોના રક્ષણ બાબત પત્ર:  આપ જાણો છો કે આવનારી 17મી એપ્રિલ ના રોજ રામનવમીનો તહેવાર છે. પાછલા વર્ષોના અનુભવ દ્વારા આપણે જાણીએ છીએ કે હિન્દુ ધાર્મિક તહેવારો મુસ્લિમોને હેરાન કરવા અને તેમના ધાર્મિક સ્થળો તેમજ દુકાનો મકાનોને નુકસાન કરવા માટેના માધ્યમ બની ગયા છે. 

सुप्रीम कोर्ट का चिकित्सा की दुनिया में बाबाओं की मनमानी को रोकने का प्रयास सराहनीय

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18થી નાની ઉંમરના 1,15,129 બાળકો શાળા બહાર? વાસ્તવિક આંકડો 15-20 ગણો વધું

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ई.वी.एम. के खिलाफ सत्याग्रह क्यों? मतपत्र वापस लाना आज क्यों ज़रूरी हो गया है?

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प्रगतिशील लेखक संघ के स्थापना दिवस पर फिलिस्तीनी जनता के साथ एकजुटता

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વિચારોના પ્રદૂષણનું ઉત્તમ ઉદાહરણ: વડાપ્રધાનની આટલી સ્તુતિ કરનારને લેખક કહી શકાય?

- રમેશ સવાણી   ગુણવંત શાહે 6 એપ્રિલ 2024ના રોજ ‘દિવ્યભાસ્કર’ની પોતાની કોલમમાં લખ્યું છે : “અરે ! એટલું તો માનો કે એને કેવળ લોકોના ભલામાં જ રસ છે ! એટલું તો માનો કે એને માટે કાયમ ‘નેશન ફર્સ્ટ’ છે ! અરે ! એટલું તો માને કે શું કરવું એ અંગે એ બિલકુલ સ્પષ્ટ છે, ક્યાંય અવઢવ નથી. એટલું તો માનો કે નેતા તરીકે એ સૌથી મોખરે છે ! અરે ! એટલું તો માનો કે એ દેશને હૃદયથી પ્રેમ કરે છે ! એટલું તો અ‌વશ્ય માનો કે વિદેશી નેતાઓ એને ભેટવાની ઉતાવળ કરે છે ! અરે ! એટલું તો માનો કે એના પરિવારમાં કોઇ વાડેરા નથી ! અરે ! એટલું તો માનો કે બિલ ગેટ્સ જેવું બ્રેન ગણાતા વ્યક્તિ સાથે ચર્ચા કરતી વખતે પૂરો આત્મવિશ્વાસ ધરાવીને ડિજિટલ રિવોલ્યૂશન અને આર્ટિફિશિયલ ઇન્ટેલિજન્સ પર ચર્ચા કરી શકે છે ! કેટલાક માણસો ઇતિહાસનાં સંતાનો હોય છે ખરા, પણ તેઓ નિયતિનાં સંતાનો નથી હોતાં. આવા લોકો પાસે એક વિઝન હોય છે, જે અન્ય પાસે હોતું નથી. આવા લોકોને ત્રણ ભેટ જીવનભર મળતી રહે છે. વિરોધ, નિંદા અને ઇર્ષ્યા. આવા જ નમૂનાઓ ગેરસમજનો જ્થ્થાબંધ વૈભવ પામે છે.  સ્પિનોઝા નામનો ચિંતક ઘરની બહાર નીકળી શકતો ન હતો. એ ચિંતકના વિચારો એવા હતા કે લોકોને ગુસ્સો આવ