Thursday, 17 November 2016

Get well soon, Media…

Our Indian democracy remains upright on major four pillars. They are namely, the legislature, the judiciary, the executive and the fourth pillar is the free press or media. It is said that the fourth pillar is strongest of all. It has that potential to question other three pillars if their working goes off the track. Media plays a crucial role in shaping a healthy democracy. It is the backbone of a democracy. It is the voice of people which shows they are not really in a dis-empowered state.

Well, after looking at the present conditions are we sure that the media is still that powerful?

Or has it lost its strength and charm?

The current scenario is somewhat like you-raise-your-voice-we-will-suppress-you. Journalists are facing very serious complications when they go to cover the incidents. There is no particular law as such which protects the journalists.  Even the news organizations are failing to protect them and their rights. They are sometimes physically assaulted by the crowd or at times getting beaten up by police - a system which protects the common man. Or sometimes it is the sin of big media which are paid by smaller and ethical media houses.

The media is certainly getting handicapped because of this. Those are the people, who are the risk takers, knowing the jeopardy show the problems in the society and end up being a problem themselves! Few journalists were assaulted outside the Patiala court while they were covering the case of Kanhaiya Kumar, by a group of lawyers. They were called ‘anti-nationals’. Seriously? Which law says that if you cover a controversial case you are anti-national? A similar incident happened in the premises of Kerala high court, where lawyers beat up the reporters.

This is not it! There are many incidents reported this year where journalists were attacked. Two journalists of a Hindi newspaper were beaten up by Police in Bhopal. Now here, the guards themselves are being the aggressors, then who will stop the mob from doing such things? A mob dreadfully beat up a woman reporter and a cameraman at Bengaluru while they were covering Cauvery issue.

Whom should they ask for help?

While few journalists from bigger media houses are provided with ‘Y’ category security, who actually enjoy reporting from their studios and those who are reporting the unrest, the ‘Burhan aftermath’ in Kashmir are getting attacked or even shot! It’s like protecting those who don’t really step on the battlefield.  Around 17 journalists were terribly assaulted in one day because the mob was furious about the way bigger media houses reported the situations in Kashmir. The local media paid the price. Some newspaper houses were banned, some journalists were even shot dead by the state Police! And these situations are still the same in Kashmir. Such incidents of killing reporters also happen in areas like Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

Even if you look at the recent event, where three photojournalists were beaten up outside Bombay house, it was very awful. It was disgraceful that they were private guards of the Tata group, which is known for strict corporate ethics. Though the group has apologized for the incident but it has damaged the equipment of the photographers. A similar incident happened at Vrindavan, where a lady photojournalist was slapped by the Hindu activists. Also, there are many events which are not reported.

The press clubs and the groups of journalists are demanding for the law and the protection for the journalists should get more serious. But if we go through all these situations, it is clear that the health of media is getting critical and that is cutting down the power of the fourth pillar.

All we can say is, get well soon media!

Written by Medini Kajarekar
Walking through the pages to find home in words.

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