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Self-censorship dangerous for journalism and democracy: Joseph

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Veteran investigative journalist Josy Joseph said self-censorship, which had become the norm across newsrooms, was dangerous for both journalism and democracy.

“Once journalist gets a job, he has a bank loan and has to pay EMI. So his concern is to protect his salary. So, he starts self-censorship within himself,” he said.

“Then when once he goes into newsroom, the editors bring in their vested interest. So there is large and very powerful self-censorship that rules newsroom and I think it is dangerous for both democracy and journalism,” said Joseph, whose book on corruption in India released recently.

He was speaking during a discussion on “Investigative journalistic stories that never saw light of the day” at Tata Lit-fest.

Josephs book “A Feast of Vultures: The Hidden Business of Democracy in India” examines and documents the corruption within the Indian democracy.

Siddharth Bhatia, founding editor of The Wire, talked about structural challenges and other issues that come in the way of a story being published.

“There are three or four things. One is simple structural problem. Nobody has news budget. Or they are allotted elsewhere. They are allotted to…what is called holy trinity –Films, cricket and astrology. So there is a little bit of problem in terms of allocating resources,” he said.

“There is a huge cultural shift. Over the last two decades, I have seen that the role and concept of what journalism for itself stands has undergone massive change,” Bhatia said.

“People think journalism is to inform and also to entertain. And (to) just let basic facts out, (in) say, some 200 or 300 words etc,” he added.

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