Monday, February 6, 2023
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“Unbiased” journalism can’t expire”

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Nowadays, media is being abused and has been given various adjectives. Readers and viewers are questioning in doubt its integrity, whenever they see some ‘biased’ news. Credibility has declined. For this, I don’t want to blame anyone, neither media nor readers or viewers. Journalists abide by accountability before the society in general, before the law and the professional connotation. The social responsibility of the journalist is that he acts in accordance with his personal ethical standards. Journalists’ main goal is to guarantee the rights of citizen and provide right and important information to his readers, which allows them to form adequate impression about social processes, their essence and importance, about the situation in their day today’s world.
Everyone wants journalists to be honest and unbiased. However, here the question is that, do we really respect neutral reporters, newspapers and broadcasters? If you don’t know, ask me, what is the pain of being an ‘unbiased’ journalist. They are attacked by all the sides. If they not take one particular stand then no one stands with them. That happened with me; I criticise as well as praise political parties according to its stand on the subject. Whenever I write something against the Congress Party, I’m labeled as BJP supporter and if I write against Narendra Modi then I’m branded as the Congress Party ‘paid’ journalist or biased towards AAP. Really, we don’t like unbiased journalists, because they are not writing what we want. They speak their mind being unbiased. Freedom of the ‘Press’ is one of the major elements of the fundamental rights of freedom of speech, an obligatory element for ensuring other civil rights and freedoms. Freedom of the press involves the possibility to freely discuss and criticise the activities of both the authorities, civil and private structures. Journalists contribute to the realisation of the right to express unpopular opinions or agree with the point of view expressed by the majority. The journalist must defend freedom of speech; retain independence of his/her political views and convictions. He/she must resist any efforts to misrepresent information or introduce restriction. Like any other citizen, the journalist has a right to political and other convictions. However, in his/her professional activity he/she should remain neutral and objective.
The journalist should do his/her best to acquire information from all possible sources, to make sure it is complete, truthful and unbiased. Information which may upset or embarrass a person should be checked prudently. Respecting the right of society to objective information, the journalist must convey truthful information and a whole spectrum of opinions on certain issues. Today, journalism is in the custody of corporate houses, mafia and politicians. If media is exploited by these people then you cannot expect hundred percent truth with them. Banner power is bigger that the reporter/anchor or editor. To fight this evil of the fourth estate, we stood alone as a self-funded organisation but people are yet to accept us because we are small media. People don’t want to give priority to small media groups as their reach is limited and such media houses may not help them spread message widely as they expect.
I am fortunate that we have good readers, who have trusted us and believed in our integrity. Unbiased journalism does not mean that the journalists should refrain from expressing their personal opinions. However, readers should be able to tell the difference between the articles stating facts and materials expressing someone’s opinion or interpretation of events. However, this principle should not limit the journalist in choosing the style of writing. The journalist should not be a presenter for anyone’s interest.
We avoid making mistakes, if at all, then we immediately correct it. Corrections of significant mistakes should be published without delay in a visible place. We are not robots. Expression of emotions is expected. To conceal disappointment, anger, or compassion at human suffering would be dishonest. Yet emotions in journalism can be over-used and manipulated. We need freedom to breath, to do justice to this profession. Unwanted and unexpected moral policing and taunting may discourage us from doing well.
For me, this journey was not easy, when I was terminated from a media house for not writing what exactly my publisher wanted me to write (that was one-sided story on a politician, whom publisher was supporting), I decided to have my own publication, but every venture needs money. No one took me seriously when I expressed my desire about having my own newspaper.
To fulfill my dream of starting my own newspaper, I mortgaged my father’s house which was transferred to me after his death. Everything is fresh in my memory though five years for the constant struggle is passing by. From the time I started this endeavor to cope up with the trends, the challenges against the ethics, I received threatening phone calls from the impotent, spamming on social networks and the ever famous blogs against me to defame me. There were millions of incidents and I don’t want to recall them at all, who have tried to delude us in our way. We have skipped the hurdles and reached so far, the next level is still to arrive.
I should tell my readers that e are struggling from year one, the first problems which we faced were finances. The lack of finances where one lady had to toss the gambling coin in the air, with a possibility of either getting it or losing it all and guess what, we had the ‘heads’ and ‘tails’ soon followed. It was totally a game of guts that we did. So far, the media was always owned by the ‘rich’ or ‘capitalists’ who had their own backing and they rely on them. Thus, the basic idea of parallel media died and pseudo journalism flourished right from the early times. It was surely difficult for all of us to survive in the market.
The ‘pehchaan’ required from distributing the newspapers to holding up the cameras, it was a true challenge against the odds but the challenge was accepted and it had to be won, after all, my only house was on mortgage for the gamble. Soon after the first year passed, we tried to dive in the various fields and tried to explore the potential talents from various phases of life. One of which was hackers industry, which is just like underworld life. People are always hiding behind the scenes and we took up the challenge of exploring it, thus, our monthly niche Hacker5 was born.
The awesomeness of movies which came out in the past year has taught us all many lessons too; about the politics, about the way people run the show and about the way people make sure that nothing stops them. It would be a wonder for you to know how we have grown. If you asked what happened two years ago and how politics controlled the country, you would have a different story, so did we. The evolution of thoughts is no more the cul de sac of people owning the media; it is even across the people. The stories which are shown to the people have come transparent and we believe, we have shown you what has been even the more transparent, a clear picture. We have grown up and we promise to keep growing. I will steal it from Wikileaks but with your support and love, we will never stop. Keep us strong!

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for past 16 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazine Beyond The News, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs. Besides journalism, she is also an Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author.
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