Friday, August 6, 2021
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I am not ashamed of being a part of media

These days’ media is in a bad light for many reasons, and I will not blame anyone else for this other than the media itself. The ethics of journalism is vanishing with time. Journalists have become an overestimated and glorified public relation executive in the hands of the banners. Recently, the Cobrapost Investigation exposed many Indian media houses willing to peddle Hindutva, which could lead to communal polarisation for electoral gains, and to defame the political rivals as the part of a malicious media campaign, all for money. The social media is playing the watchdog by exposing such journalists and banners. Nowadays, the credibility of media is fading. Media houses are behaving like sophisticated PR agencies for politicians, business group, or mafias. The journalists, who are quiet about this or believe in self-absorbed journalism, are the biggest threat to the fourth estate of the democracy. Blackmailers, fact-twisters and perk seekers too are the biggest threat to the fourth estate of the democracy. These days, journalists are on the contract of political parties, some even become settlers or you can say, middleman, as we have seen in Radia case. The Journalists are paid to spy rivals, tarnish their image, and plant stories against them. They are on the payroll of the business houses and the politicians. Media is strengthened in the hands of the corrupt politicians and mafias. They have forgotten what signifies the fourth pillar of democracy and the responsibility that comes with it. Transparency doesn’t mean that media runs everywhere; CCTV cameras will do that work. Minutes of the meeting in the public domain will do. Proper reasoning at media conferences will do. It was just four days when the AAP government came to power and it had banned the media from entering the Delhi Secretariat, its entry had also been restricted to the Media Centre, and media persons are no longer allowed to visit the rooms of the Ministers and other offices in the secretariat.

Media in India is becoming hysterical mafias. They are behaving like human scavengers, by going haywire and aimless. They can project anything in any manner suiting their motto. That is why what VK Singh has tweeted is accepted and approved by millions of viewers. The Journalists should not engage in destabilisation of facts and personalities. Media should not think that they are above criticism. Where were these people, when their own fraternity was found in brokering business with ‘Power’ which was recorded in Radia tape? Transparency in media is in question neither it is standing on high moral grounds. With the advent of Social Media, the mainstream media cannot dictate terms. The press needs to change itself with time as the social media is the real watchdog where you will not be able to manipulate. If media channels don’t get their act straight, very soon people will dump them and only focus on Twitter to get real and factual news.

Like any other business or an establishment, media has a role and accountabilities and its primary role is reportage. As an extension of the primary role, the media is entitled to their opinion on all issues. Then they also shape public opinion on important matters. The responsibilities consist of broadcasting the events factually, without any misrepresentation, being truthful and level-headed in expressing an opinion. They should be working for the public good, but again who will decide good, bad, and ugly? What one agrees or like may not be the taste of some other person. The overall media should have an approach towards reporting rather than twisting and fabricating facts? The media’s operative leaves much to be desired. These days, the media has literally gone glamour way, all immature reporters, those who look good and handsome, are given a job on priority. The school of journalism gives them bookish knowledge which is far away from facts and the actual happening. In many cases, these journalist milling agencies don’t even teach them the basic difference between tabloid journalism to mainstream journalism. They are not taught the basics of journalism. Some star reporters appear as faculty and they overbore students with their own achievements and adventures, even students are happy clicking selfies with them. The basic is shaken and that’s why reporting is immature. The opinions are prejudiced. Many of the journalists cannot control their personal aversion against certain politicians.

We have a lot of overrated people in the media. Many others feel that they are the God’s gift to the Indian journalism. The media needs to seriously think why they have earned the title of #presstitutes, #newstraders, #paidmedia, #bazaru, and so on. Today’s television media has become worse than the immoral blogs, with most of the reporters even outdoing the paparazzi. The TRP war has taken over the sanity of journalism. Regrettably, today’s news reporters and news anchors, who take umbrage under the tag of journalists, have only succeeded in making journalism a curse word in the list of professions, once the respected profession lost its dignity these days.

Let me take you in the flashback with other two memorable incidences — the second working day of the Aam Aadmi Party government at the Delhi Secretariat was virtually lost in the chaos with the media boycotting a press conference following an initial decision to ban the reporters inside the premises, which was, however, later on, lifted in the evening. As I said earlier, the entry by the media persons was restricted to the Media Centre and they were not allowed to visit the rooms of ministers and other offices inside the secretariat. Even PIB accredited journalists were denied entry. That has never happened in the past that the media was banned from entering the secretariat premises. A press conference called by Satyendra Jain, the Minister in charge of Health and Industries was boycotted by the media. Later, with a view to controlling the situation, Manish Sisodia, came to the AAP’s rescue, saying, “Access for the media wouldn’t be less, in fact, (it would be) more than what it was under the earlier government”. Sisodia held an informal meeting with the journalists and finally, the issue was sorted. Meanwhile, there was too much of chaos on the news channels and also an outrage on the social media against AAP and its government. Earlier, the AAP government had claimed that the public would be allowed free entry to the secretariat without any passes. On the other hand, they banned media from entering Delhi Secretariat. This entire episode took a political turn.

Most of the media are manipulating the news while most of the political parties are having their own media. The reporters are paid to spy and play mud-slinging. Many political leaders and parties sponsor some of the other media and they decide the agenda. The Biggest threat to the fourth estate of democracy are those cowards who hesitate to call spade a spade, who believe in Eyewash journalism. The Biggest threat to the fourth estate of democracy are those journalists who are on Contract Coverage of political parties, they are planned to spy rivals. The ethics of journalism is lost in today’s time. PM Narendra Modi frequently refers to the journalists even slightly critical of him as ‘news traders’, but still in such a crucial stage, there are some journalists and media houses standing fair and honest against all odds and we are one of them.


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Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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