Letter to the Hoot: Katju is right
In such a scenario, the angst of Justice Katju is not at all surprising. His views are 100% correct, in fact his language is mild compared to the seriousness or venality of the problem.
says SAVITHRI BALASUBRAMANIAM
Tuesday, Nov 15 13:47:44, 2011
There is no doubt that the media, as the fourth and independent pillar of democracy has to be free. But all freedoms come with an equal responsibility. This is where the media has been failing miserably, especially in recent times.
The media's role in a free society is:
a) To disseminate information as neutrally and factually as possible.
b) To interpret information, events or issues as wisely as possible.
c) To act as a mirror and reflect society as truly as possible.
This is especially true in reportage and analysis.
Activism, or support of activism, is alright as long as it is a generally accepted patent fact that it is definitely for the larger and further good. This means that reporters, analysts, and the editorial roles are or should be, separate and distinct, and even more so from the commercial department.
Media in a free society also means that media are commercial enterprises. This is okay as long as the revenue sources do not influence or drive the editorial content.
Sadly, none of the above hold good any more. Wealth has a way of corrupting even saints, why wouldn't lay media fall prey to it? Every thing in media packaged and presented to the public is highly coloured, even if not entirely corrupted. This means that the editor or promoters of the media organ,print or visual, are run by shadow bosses for their vested interests. The media is a tool in their hands, and its services are being prostituted for wealth or even power. In fact some media houses have also started their event-management wings and use their media organ as its advert tool.
In such a scenario, the angst of Justice Katju is not at all surprising. His views are 100% correct, in fact his language is mild compared to the seriousness or venality of the problem. Yes, the final powers he seeks for the PCI maybe extreme, and perhaps there could be checks and balances incorporated. But a re-vamp of the PCI powers are completely justified, and urgent. The media has become a lot of disparate strident noise, and all the common people hear is a cacophony. It has lost all its respect and it has no one to blame but itself. The next step is that it will make itself irrelevant and redundant, read or viewed only as a brainless activity or attractive only for entertainment value or for the Page 3 people or its followers.
Its certainly time that the powers that be in the media wake up, for their own good.