Impartial journalism going down the drain
Jharkhand government's advertisement seeking applications from print and TV journalists to register with the...
Jharkhand government's advertisement seeking applications from print and TV journalists to register with the government for a scheme which will endow a grant up to Rs 15,000 to cover the government's welfare schemes and other initiative is something which should make the journalists sit up and give a serious thought if they really want to protect the values of journalism.
It is unfortunate that the government of Jharkhand wants tailor-made reports in the wake of ensuing elections towards the end of this year. The political parties have of late become notorious for showing 3 D cinema and try to win over the people projecting that they and they alone had done what no one else had in the past even could think of.
This attitude is more among the regional parties particularly in the last five years or so. t seems that even national parties are now trying to emulate such formulas perhaps because they feel that all is well in love and war. Over a couple of decades, new methods are being deployed by them, more so by ruling parties to keep the media in their pockets.
Till a couple of decades ago, the focus of media used to be on developmental journalism but now it has transformed into sensationalism and political journalism without caring much for the facts. The role of political parties in this transformation is very high.
With new genre of politicians taking charge of the political parties, new marketing strategies are being used to project more than real life picture to garner more and more votes.
Earlier, allurement of voters was resorted to by all political parties. In States like Tamil Nadu, this used to be in the form of distribution of household goods. Slowly it has taken the form of direct cash payment to the voters.
No political party will show the courage to accept this but at the same time they also cannot muster courage to say that it is not true. Of late, resorting to allurement of media is the new strategy.
It appears that all parties feel that the media too is a commodity which can be purchased. They are leaving no stone unturned in projecting what they have done and not done with the help of media management. The reason for this kind of shift is because a new practice is now in vogue that is from top leaders of political parties to officials, everyone is employing spokespersons who are heavily tutored, and it is only their version that reflects in the media mostly.
The methodology used by each party differs. But what is most shocking is now the government in Jharkhand has made it an official business. It wants journalists to write and show what they want till the elections are over.
It is really a sad commentary that the saffron party which is considered to be a disciplined party and a party with great moral values is also resorting to official media management. The State government certainly would not have dared to take such a step without some kind of nod from the Central party. If it has done so, then it means that the levels of autonomy in the saffron party has gone too high.
It now remains to be seen how the journalist organisations would react to it. Every such organisation claims that they would uphold the highest traditions of journalism. But then this seems to be more in words rather than deeds and this again is because they too are susceptible to fall prey to the practices being used by the political parties in general and ruling parties in particular to control the media. This has resulted in impartial journalism taking a beating.
No wonder some of the veteran journalists lament that journalists are being made to act as 'clerical coolies'. God save journalism.