“Is Indian Media – Misusing its Freedom?”
Well, the topic itself leaves every Indian with an opportunity to be an evaluator, the part which we enjoy the most “being a critic”.
And if in any case the subject being talked about is something INDIAN then we employ our right to criticize* (* right to express) most expeditiously.
So why to spare Indian Media!!! (The same media which cognize us of WHAT, WHEN, HOW was MISUSED…..)
Just to begin with how free Indian Media is, India is ranked 105 out of 168 countries in Worldwide Press Freedom Index. (We were at 80 in 2002).
And the much talked about freedom is the RIGHT TO EXPRESS. (Which every citizen of India enjoys)
Indian Media was questioned and much alleged of covering some sensitive, strategic actions of commandos during 26/11 attacks, well to be fair enough I think it was much of a mistake rather then misuse.
Then came the SWINE FLU, of which media was accused of over highlighting it and causing panic. Well just to remind at that time our health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had told reporters that school girl Reeda Shaikh, who died Aug 3 in a Pune hospital, had visited more than one hospital for treatment and thus could have spread the virus to about 80 others.(and later apologized for his comment). What could you expect from media when country’s health minister is in such an affright over the issue. And incomplete information can be as devastating as incorrect information, so over highlighting might be the need.
We say that there are more then 50 news channels in country, and they are more then 74000 (yeah actually it sounds a bit too vague, but INDIA have got more then 74000 news papers registered) and they all are resorting towards sensationalized journalism, it in fact is not false, if not all most of them are resorting towards the commercial aspects of media. But isn’t it all we enjoy reading and watching..!!
So I infer it much as the MISUSE OF THE TRUST OF AUDIENCE RATHER THEN FREEDOM, misuse of the blind way we believe in them.
Indian Media and advertising– media accused of showing surreptitious advertisements, well when we can not shun the manufacture or use of some commodities how can we censor media for advertising or promoting them.(But still there some qualitative restrictions on advertising, with the list of norms available at http://presscouncil.nic.in/norms.htm ).
Same is the case of STING OPERATIONS. So as long as viewers are interested in strings they will continue to happen, as soon as the audience becomes bore of them, string operations will disappear.(Supreme court had already made some guidelines to carry out
string operation, as it could hamper an individual’s right to PRIVACY)
With three unstable democratic pillars, the executive, the legislature, the judiciary there is always an immense need of fourth pillar which could be a conscious watchdog, and the purpose can be well served by a responsible free media.
How ever there are always two sides of a coin, so is with INDIAN MEDIA.
It’s not much about the misuse of the freedom, its about the realization of the power and the responsibility which comes with the freedom. Indian Media like any other institution have been irresponsible at number of instances, to mention “ media trial vs. right to free and fair trial”, some times certain aspects of case are so much highlighted by the press that the publicity gives rise to strong public emotions which successively could perilously intervene in the justice delivery system. And so is the case of PAID NEWS, where in some political parties got published and aired news favorable to them. But we can not accuse by large whole Indian Media of misusing its freedom. (And not to forget we came across all these scams and happenings just because media today is free, free to write , free to express, free to speak, and free to point out its own faults and flaws).
So it would not be just a euphemistic approach to call INDIAN MEDIA irresponsible rather then accusing it of misusing the freedom.