24 November, 2011

Journalism, contorted

I was at a book release function of a senior journalist MS Prabhakara, and some lessons on journalism were there to be absorbed. Journalism our generation knows is entirely different from the work that the people in that hall have lived through.

Nupur Basu, raised a concern asking a question; she apprehended, "Where have our generation of journalists gone wrong, that the best practices we adopted have not been carried forward to the contemporary journalists?"
Although the question itself was deemed beyond the scope of the discussions there, it made a mark on me.

The aforementioned apprehension about journalism having gone out of the ethical and passionate ways of reporting events and honestly communicating to the people is of grave concern.

I am a severe critic of the paparazzi mouth pieces of the day, which spew junks of futile brouhaha, brands propaganda and rarely some news which is either "paid", or extensively contorted. A newspaper which fits this description is the largest and pompously read English daily in most of the metros.

P Sainath in one of his talks mentions that the success of this trendsetting newspaper under discussion is that, it was successful in creating an audience of its own - a mirage of Westernization backed by the globalized market bouncing off the neoliberal policy framework. Treading in its path, even today, people read this particular newspaper to feel "urbanized"! Pity.

Influencing public opinion by whatever means is the most important political tool that could be devised. Print media, although mellowing down has substantial impact even today with all the tens of "news channels" (a term that annoys and antagonizes me simultaneously). Reporting honest news and ethical journalism are confined to few publishers, who in the Page3 world not fashionable enough for the gullible population to read.

Although with the intervention of internet, there is not much of polarization in terms of opinions, the perilous impact of bad news in bad form is out there to be seen - Most of the bad newspaper reading readers feel good about the goodness of emulating other populations, without analyzing the good or bad of bad and good of what is served to them! 

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