“There are many influential stories taking place across the world as well as our nation which should be more emphasised, however, today’s journalists prefer to hop on negative stories than some positive ones,” says JS Bhattacharya, a retired serviceman from Mumbai. At a time when the entire nation is debating on news, fake news and whatabouts of news organisations and journalists, Afternoon Voice decided to highlight the voice of the people who’re the part of over 500 million internet users in the country and also the followers of conventional news sources (Print or broadcast media).
So, what did we find? While a maximum number of voices from different age groups showed interest in deep and neutral reporting, many showered their disappointment over the inaccuracy of news items telecasted or printed! “Journalists and news organisations must focus on reporting, verifying and putting forward what’s happening regardless of your personal opinion of whether it fits your needs or harms you personally,” says Mukul Chatterjee, a retired professor.
By the words of American author Andrew Vachss, journalism is what maintains democracy and the force for progressive social change. However, twisted, one-side reported and politically biased news stories from a few of the whole news media too have invited much of public wrath against today’s journalism. “Earlier, journalism was a medium to raise the voice of the common people. The essence of journalism is fading away and hence, people are losing trust over the authenticity of the current journalism. Prime Time debate shows only help to get higher TRP and political mileage. Viewers are losing interest from these endless debates as it gives no solution. Today’s news is a one-sided opinion towards a particular person or a political party who is in the ruling government. We want a watchdog news media that can criticise the ruling party for their wrongdoings,” said Prakash Mehta, a businessman.
There are many who believe that we are left with only a few genuine and accurate news sources while others work as ‘prime time extravaganza’.
Literature student Sanjana Ghosh believes that it’s great when multiple news sources analyse single news with all possible perspectives but the never-ending race to grab the front seat has also shadowed the news media. “The most salient feature of this ‘race’ is lack of ‘authenticity’. In the zeal of coming first at any cost, some news sources forget to verify the accuracy of the news making the readers puzzled — whether to believe this or that!!”
“The spotlight of the media sticks to one particular thing for a pretty long time — even if that makes no sense and I particularly find this very annoying,” she added.
Tushar Gosavi, a bank employee expressed a supporting viewpoint. He said, “Economical benefits are looked after more in today’s journalism. Somewhere in the fast-paced lives, the important news gets faded behind the breaking news. Every day debate shows on different issues are just for the namesake; it neither brings a solution nor a change. Media has forgotten to follow-up on the issues that are to be resolved for the public. If news organisations in our country bring few such changes, the scope of social improvisation will become much broader.”
Moreover, Amit Barse, a private firm employee from Andheri, too finds authenticity being consistently disappearing bringing a fundamental gap between the public and news media. He went on expressing, “Journalism has evolved and electronic media and print media co-exit. However, sometimes journalists tend to cover a story without verifying the facts. Already the name of media has been tarnished due to yellow journalism. Media has a responsible role to play in today’s society and must remain unbiased while covering stories. When most of the media is owned by corporates, the ethics of journalism has been compromised and paid news has gained precedence.”
Nothing to argue that journalism’s first obligation is to the truth and its first loyalty is to the citizens. Subhashish Mukherjee, a sales professional feels the need for an impartial news media where reporters will never come under political influence and will remain transparent about information derivation. “General people believe in media to a large extent and they must not learn the wrong information,” he stated.
Reporters are often blamed for sensationalism in news coverage. They are criticised for exaggerating the facts and that’s nowhere close to what journalism must act like. “Sensationalism in the news media should be stopped. I find a big gap between mass media and mass reality in today’s time. The real facts in and around happenings are not highlighted in a proper way. We need more debates and discussions about the crisis in the education system and lastly, the news media should speak the truth about the power and the powerful,” Bidisha Banerjee, an M.Tech student from Jadavpur University shared her thoughts.
While Sayan Mustafi, a B.tech student believes, Q&A analysed stories highlighting important points of news can become more helpful for this tech-savvy and fast-paced generation, housewife Papia Chatterjee thinks that today’s news media is more interested to show what people want to see/know than what they need to. “Reporters today are doing many stories on gender equality, religious harmony, national and geopolitics; however, issues like animal cruelty, river pollution, dried up rivers need equal attention. The contribution of women towards the science and technology too needs to be highlighted,” she concluded.