Some time back, I heard someone say, and I am paraphrasing here, “a country’s journalism should always be anti-government”. This struck a chord with me, as the phrase highlights the true essence of what journalism should be and the need of the hour, especially in a politically manipulative land like India. Too much has been speculated and glorified as “truth” in praise for the current government, despite ground realities being in contrast. Sadly, the Journalism that points this glaring omission is shunned, while starry-eyed pieces written by the lackeys catches everyone’s attention. The trouble is, after years of political subjugation, people will lap up to whatever made-up facts are thrown at them, especially when those “facts” show the country, and more importantly the government, in a positive light. However, one should not fall victim to such manhandling of one’s emotions, and always be on the lookout for cracks and flaws in the governance, whichever party it may be. Highlighting, promoting and shouting out one’s achievements, howsoever false it may be, achieve nothing but spread insincere hopes and expectations. However, if the deficiencies, flaws and weaknesses in the current government machinery, and the country at large, are reported emphatically along with potential solutions, the information can bring about the urge and the need to change the status quo. Positive/Sycophantic journalism only sugarcoats what’s been done, and which may not require any more intervention. So it’s there, and it’s done. What’s the point in harping about it on and on? Impartial/Negative journalism, on the other hand, can highlight what needs to be done. Such information can make us feel bad about our inaction and force us, at least the ones that are troubled enough to take the initiative, out of that inertia. Relying on just the government, who have their own foreign-vested interests, or few legislators will not bring about the change. It should first come from within, from the awareness of one’s constitutional rights, and then the need to realize those rights in our daily lives. And impartial/negative journalism can become the right tool for such an initiative.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)