Long live honest journalism

NJ THAKURIA-

Even though the Indian media fraternity observes National Press Day on
16 November commemorating the day since when the Press Council of
India (PCI) starts functioning, it’s unfortunate that the
quasi-judicial body still has no authority over news channels and
digital media outlets. While rich tributes are paid to everyone who
contributed to the growth of print media and also its mentor &
watchdog (PCI), it should be an occasion for the practicing media
persons to introspect seriously over their noble profession, where it
has actually been heading in the post-Covid-19 era.

Since its inception and functioning, the PCI continues to symbolize a
free and responsible press in the largest democracy of the world.
Among all press or media councils, functioning in various countries,
the PCI is recognized as a unique entity that exercises authority over
the media and also safeguards independence of the press. Under the
Press Council Act 1965, various relevant functions such as helping
newspapers to maintain their independence and building up a code of
conduct for newspapers and journalists in accordance with high
professional standards are being authorized for the PCI. Undoubtedly,
the sole aim of journalism should be the service to humanity. Till the
last century, newspapers dominated the media scenario, but lately it
has witnessed a drastic fall in the circulation of printed newspapers.
The newspaper industry is actually struggling for survival after the
invasion of satellite television channels and digital outlets.

Since the days of Arunodoi (1846), northeast India has witnessed the
publication of a good number of morning dailies in various languages.
Prior to the pandemic, Guwahati supported the publication of around 30
dailies with hundreds of periodicals. But the endless corruption among
many editors and a visibly low space for the valued
readers/audience/viewers to make their official points even in need
have steadily ruined the sacred profession. Once the quality internet
becomes available to the common people, a large number of social media
users start questioning the professional journalists and the
professional media persons were seemingly not ready for that.

Rejection to social media terming it a nuisance by a number of
print-editors has also deteriorated the situation. In the recent past,
altogether three Guwahati-based television journalists (who started
careers as print journalists) were named and shamed in social media as
being beneficiaries of the National Register of Citizens updation scam
in Assam scam.

At least one prominent filmmaker identified a television talk show
host in his facebook post that the scribe had grabbed a huge amount of
money which was due for the temporary workers (data entry operators)
in the process. The accused television journalist aggressively
supported the draft NRC in various official appearances (reasons best
known to him), even though it still faces many pertinent questions
ranging from its cut-off year (1971) to inclusion of millions of
illegal Bangladeshi migrants. In a public comment, the tainted scribe
even compared those who support 1951 as the cut-off year to identify
the infiltrators in Assam (as it is done across the country) as
idiots.

Lately a senior print journalist in his post claimed that the accused
scribe even spent money in the local press club election to get an
executive committee of his choice. Need not to mention that the
concerned electoral exercise was a visible expensive affair to the
common city residents as well. A large number of leading print
journalists were denied their membership, so that they could not
participate in the election, neither as candidates nor voters. Rumours
were spread that a powerful politician was behind their mission, which
turned false later.

In both cases, when thousands of alternate media users accused the
journalist and press club authority of corruption and mismanagement,
they remained silent. Months back, a list of beneficiaries from the
coal mafia went viral in social media where some journalists and press
associations were named. Amazingly, they did not make any response.
PCI should have intervened in all those matters for the sack of
India’s media fraternity, but it has limited authority. Thus,
existence of the statutory body has been denied by those dishonest
media persons. What more we are waiting for!



भड़ास का ऐसे करें भला- Donate

भड़ास वाट्सएप नंबर- 7678515849



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *