Tuesday, July 16, 2024
HomeDelhiJournalism that isn't biased is now a mirage

Journalism that isn’t biased is now a mirage

Mahatma Gandhi has written about the role of newspapers and that, in my humble opinion, using newspapers as a means of livelihood is wrong

 Niraj Krishna

The News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) has taken action against three TV channels for airing hate shows related to the Shraddha Valakar murder case and Ram Navami violence. A fine of one lakh rupees has been imposed on Times Now Navbharat and fifty thousand on News18 India. A warning has been issued to the “Aaj Tak” channel. All three channels have been instructed to remove controversial videos from online platforms within 7 days. This includes shows hosted by anchors Amish, Aman, and Sudhir Chaudhary.

The penalty determined by NBDSA is quite nominal. The amount of the penalty should have been determined in proportion to their income, and guilty anchors should have been taken off the air for 15 days. The key to the impartiality of any news or information lies with the anchor. If the anchor is not impartial and intends to project one side, they will mute the other side and not raise questions on any one side. This is a sign of bias. Media persons should learn; they need to realize that they are seizing a position of great power, and what they say affects the entire nation. No media outlet, journalist, or anchor has the right to divide society.

NBDSA President and former Supreme Court Justice AK Sikri has said that calling every interfaith marriage “love jihad” is wrong. Regarding the program of Times Now Navbharat, NBDSA said, ‘It seems that at the beginning of the broadcast, the anchor drew the conclusion that men of a particular community deceive women of another community by hiding their religious identity and then commit violence or murder against such women, and any violence or murder against women of a particular community is related to love jihad.’

Justice Sikri directed that in the future, the term “love jihad” should be used with extreme caution, as its irresponsible use can undermine the country’s secular framework. Activist Indrajit Ghorpade had filed a complaint against NBDSA for some channels. NBDSA said that the media can show on any issue, but targeting the entire community due to the actions of an individual or a few individuals is wrong.

Last year, the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBDSA) reprimanded two TV channels for violating the Code of Ethics and Guidelines. The hatred-filled atmosphere of Indian TV news channels has been a matter of concern for the past few years. In 2022, during a hearing on hate propaganda in the Indian media, a judge said, ‘Hate increases TRP, increases profit.’

Gandhi believed that discipline should come from within in journalism and that this task could be undertaken by the common people. If there is awareness within them, they will not read such letters that serve flaws with exaggeration and distort the public mind.

The form of media present in today’s situation is indeed very confusing. What the media should be doing, it is shirking from, and not only that, it is also opposing individuals, groups, and organizations struggling for constitutional values, i.e., social, economic, and political justice. The media appears to be strongly opposed to proponents of freedom of thought, expression, belief, religion, and worship. Moreover, those working towards dignity and equality seem to be made fun of.

Journalism should be in line with the expectations of democracy and the public. Impartial journalism is capable of elevating any nation, country, or society to great heights. Impartiality in journalism is always respected. It is necessary for the journalist to not be biased toward any argument. A journalist should only report facts and not have a personal perspective on the facts.

During the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards ceremony, while addressing the chief guest, Chief Justice Chandrachud reiterated the importance of responsible journalism, which leads democracy towards a better future. He said, “Responsible journalism works like an engine that drives democracy towards a better tomorrow. In the digital age, it is more important than ever for journalists to practice journalism with accuracy, impartiality, responsibility, and fearlessness.” Referring to the emergency period, when the Indian Express left its editorial page blank, Chief Justice Chandrachud said that it reminded us how powerful silence can be.

On one side, in India, various pressures are being exerted by the government or its supporters on the media, while on the other hand, media management itself is not lagging behind in this direction. Several internal news reports in India highlight that media management has also created significant pressure on its journalists to write and propagate news in favor of their favorites. The result is evident. Today, many media houses in the country are compelled to toe the government line, failing to deliver accurate information to the public.

It is not a crime for journalists and publications to write in favor of or against someone, but the difficulty lies in whether they have any ideology of their own. Gone are the days when people working in the media used to reaffirm their clear ideological perspective and stand by their principles. Today, ideological commitment can be seen as lacking. Analysts argue that those who write news should have a clear perspective, a clear view, and clear thoughts. Until they are clear about their political ideology, they will continue to be accused of supporting a particular ideology according to the time. Moreover, in today’s era, when everything is bought and sold, media houses are not spared from their clutches.

The media fulfills the responsibility of informing all sections and parts of the country and society about each other. The public not only believes in the news published or broadcast by the media but also considers it a powerful means of debate, discussion, and information on emerging subjects and issues. However, unfortunately, in our country, a large section associated with the media, driven by greed, power, and commercial thinking, has tarnished the principles of the media and has seemingly compromised it. Walking on this irresponsible and unethical path, the media has planted such seeds of doubt on its credibility that it has become difficult for readers and viewers to differentiate between true and false news. Which news is ‘tree news’ and which one fulfills the standards of journalism? Which one is ‘fake news’ and which one is true news? The trend of turning away from its responsibility by the media has been going on for the past 6-7 years. However, in the last one and a half to two years, that is, since the time of Corona, the media has started a series of building castles on the sand based on ‘fake news’ and biased news and imaginations, breaking the trust of millions of countrymen.

If the media does not provide the correct information to the public, it will not take long for the public to lose faith in the media. For the protection of democracy and for the better life of the common man, having an independent, impartial, and responsible media has become more necessary than ever before.

 Mahatma Gandhi has written about the role of newspapers and that, in my humble opinion, using newspapers as a means of livelihood is wrong. There are certain fields of work that are so important and have such an impact on public welfare that starting them for the sake of earning a livelihood will thwart their primary purpose. When a newspaper is seen as a means of earning profit in the future, the possibility of serious misconduct is high. Gandhi believed that no matter how clean journalism becomes or how independent it becomes, it should not be controlled by power.

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1 COMMENT

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