Media Must Go For Self – Introspection

By Parmanand Pandey

Supercilious and self-righteous conscience keepers of media persons were up in arms when they learnt that the West Bengal police have arrested a top ranking Maoist leader from Lalgarh disguising as journalists. The policemen posed themselves as the correspondents of a foreign newspaper. They took the help of a local journalist to reach the Maoist leader.

The logic of media persons is that every profession has to observe certain codes of conduct which should not be encroached upon by other professionals for vested interests because that erodes the credibility of the profession. They say that the policemen have arrested the Maoist leader because the Media has credibility and it also shows that the police or for that matter the system of the state, has completely failed to do what it is expected to do. This puts a big question mark on the efficacy and the efficiency of the police and the state. This also shows that the police are still living in the era of feudalism and it has not evolved any sophistication in dealing with the new types of crimes. There can no two opinions that the system must grow to deal with and address to the problems of the people with minimum possible intrusion.

However, the question is whether media is justified in going overboard or it should do self-introspection on such occasions. Is it doing its work in a manner that is becoming of it or it is simply indulging into sanctimonious pontificating? No doubt sometimes grievances of media are genuine but many times it is seen that creates unnecessary hullabaloo. It has often been seen that media cries wolf to create the protective shield around it, so that nobody could think of even questioning its modus operendi and modus vivendi.

Despite proverbially short memories people might not have forgotten the employment of prostitutes for conducting sting operation by Tehlaka. Media had unabashedly justified the use of sluts and floozies for, what it considers a right cause. So, what if the policemen disguised themselves as journalists to catch hold of a dreaded dacoit or a naxalite leader who is responsible for death of so many and destruction of properties? Will any body mind if the police arrest terrorists who were planning to blow up a bus, train or plane? In fact, the police would be patted by every section of society for its efficient handling.

After all, journalists have been used as spies by various secret agencies in the world. If journalists themselves are prepared to work as agents for politicians and foreign investigating agencies, then heaven would not fall if policemen did a commendable job by arresting a person, who was wanted by the police for the quite long time and was giving the slips by terrorising the local people.

Not long ago, there was story in the Times of India when journalists drove on a motorcycle in restricted areas in the guise of policemen just to prove that the security was not in place even in the VIP localities.

It is very strange that the media cries hoarse and throws up the question of integrity and reliability but it has never bothered to see that it has become the haven of all sorts of pimps, bootlickers, bootleggers and sycophants. The general perception about journalists has gone down to the lowest ebb. It is said that journalists are saleable and anything can be published or broadcast by paying money to them.

Moreover, media have hardly had any concern for the social issues and it can be vouchsafed by reading the newspapers and watching the TV channels. Smugglers, black marketers, brick kiln owners, dishonest builders and businessmen have taken it as any other business and launched newspapers and channels. Journalists are ready to work for them on hire but surprisingly they become didactic and deliver homilies when it comes to telling others- what to do and not to do. Many thieves, pickpockets, unscrupulous suspects and criminals have got emblazoned ‘press’ on their vehicles and they masquerade as journalists among authorities for earning money by touting. This all is done in day-light but entire journalist community remains blind to it. How sad it is! In fact, media have no moral right to take umbrage on West Bengal police donning the garb of journalists to arrest an ideological rogue. If it wants to regain its image and credibility, it has to go for its own catharsis and cleansing. Will the employee journalists behaving like high priests of media wake up to reform themselves?