An interactive session on ‘Media’s Truths and Lies’ was organised in the Parallel Literature Festival (PLF) of Jaipur on 28th January. Samanantar Sahitya Utsav is being organised for the first time, which is a novel effort of renowned litterateur Krishna Kalpit and Veteran journalist and literary person Ish Madhu Talwar. Hundreds of people participated and rejoiced the festival for three days from 27th to 29th January.
The enthusiasm, the spirit and the vigour of the participants was exhilarating and encouraging in the sense that people want literature that can relate to their pains and problems, loves and pathos, struggles and enjoyments, howsoever big or meager it may be. Such writings become enduring and lasting but on the other hand, the literature, away from the humdrum, dusts and dirt of the common man remains confined to select few as their hobby. It is an undeniable fact that any Sahitya, dressed and decked up with snobbery and elitism can only survive briefly and not be a lasting one.
Participants in the Media session were Shri Ramsharan Joshi, IFWJ’s Secretary General Parmanand Pandey, Ms Sunita Chaturvedi, Ish Madhu Talwar and Shri Narayan Barot. Initiating the debate Mr. Barot said that the present day media is working under great and stress and strain put upon it by the existing dispensation. He said that corporatisation of the media has reduced its freedom. The journalists with dissenting voice are being shunted out from their organisations for one or other reasons.
He said that the media today has not been doing the job of informing the people with objective facts but it is spreading lies and half truths at the behest of their owners and the government. They have no liberty to question the government of the day. He lamented that the existing government, which came to power on tall promises, has belied the hopes of the people. He further said that only way to retrieve the glory of media is to create the people movement. His address was replete with English quotations and Urdu couplets.
IFWJ Secretary General Parmamand Pandey disagreed with pessimism of Mr. Barot and said that there is no point in losing hopes from the future of media. He said that even the Supreme Court judges, who are insulated from public scrutiny, have also taken the help of media to ventilate their grievances. He said that it is an index and indication of the trust and faith that media enjoys in the public and in all other limbs of the state. He underlined the fact that it is because of the active media that many cases like those of Nirbhya rape and Jessica Lal were opened by the courts and justice was handed down. The media’s role has been applauded for its pro active reporting and also for creating of the opinion of the people for just and right cause.
The strong laws for preventing the crimes against women have been enacted only because of the pressure and awakening created by the media. He said that there are many black sheep in the media and it has to work to expose them. He lauded the spectacular growth of the social media which has helped in identifying the grains of news from chaff of falsehood. He said that it is because of the social media that nobody can conceal the truth for long time. Shri Pandey said that the freedom of the media should not be concentrated to the owners only, it must be given to journalists; otherwise real freedom will remain a mirage. Giving example of the reporting of proceedings of the Majithia Wage Board case he said that it was a total blackout as the instance of the proprietors. He said that in today’s media workers and labourers have been ignored and they are being deliberately blacked out. Therefore, the common man must adopt the tools of modern technology to put across the real news to the people.
Senior journalist Ish Madhu Talwar, who is also the member of the Working Committee of the IFWJ and the organiser of the ‘Parallel Literature Festival’ (PLF) said that because of the some media houses in Rajasthan the truth is becoming the biggest causality. He gave many examples where these media houses have hardly cared for the people and the truth and are shamelessly playing into the hands of the purveyors of falsehood. He said that despite the clouds of gloom there are still the silver linings which hold hopes for the people.
Ms Sunita Chaturvedi, an activist journalist, said that huge amount of negativism has developed in the field of media because of the corporate culture. The million dollar question is who will tear asunder the cobweb of falsity and negativism, she asked.
Well known journalist and media educator Shri Ramsharan Joshi, said that the media has degenerated itself from ‘paid news’ to ‘fake news’. Earlier it was ready to be sold for planting the stories on payment now it is creating and presenting the news for various considerations. Shri Joshi said that in the present atmosphere there is neither ‘total black’ nor ‘total white’ but it has been continuing from quite long time. In the present times, however, the area of blackness has surpassed the area of whiteness.
In the session many participants registered their presence by freely expressing their views and asking questions from the panelists.