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Putting things in their perspective

Putting things in their perspective
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Putting Things in Their Perspective. After my last column I thought at least some journalists will bark at me, but I was disappointed.

After my last column I thought at least some journalists will bark at me, but I was disappointed.

Instead, some readers wrote showing the journalists in poor light. One of them, V V Sastry, wrote, “Your anger and anguish is understandable, for they had been accustomed to wag tail only, not to bark. Times are different and personalities are rare to justify Thomas Jefferson’s assertion in 1787. The atmosphere is different in these days of paid news and paid reporting. Still papers like The Hans India strive to shore up the standards in a rarefied atmosphere of sycophancy...”

K Yalamudi, lecturer from Khammam, writes, “It is indeed unfortunate that a situation has so unfolded, that too so soon, for the Editor to go for a second piece of this kind of speaking about the undemocratic governance style of the government of the day... History is replete with examples galore, how the misuse of political power had made many a great leader a tragic footnote of history. It is always the small men who go very far. Magnanimity should inform the mental make-up of any politician, if that person loves to become a statesman.

“Coming to the local media and its strange silence about the event and the serious implications involved in it, one is out and out with the Editor’s feelings. One is also with the columnist, even about the positive intervention of press (despite its mercenary character these days) in unearthing many scams. It is particularly disturbing, for, one local media baron, would have us believe. Day in and day out he is a sort of Ramnath Goenka, when it comes to press freedom and opposing the arbitrary power of any ilk. Is it because he has started putting a great premium on the Shakespearean dictum, “Discretion is the better part of valour” that he is mum?

“It is equally unsettling that many progressive intellectuals too are not sufficiently vocal in their stand against the polluting power exercise of the political executive. Some feeble mutterings are heard, but they are not loud enough, nor do they carry conviction with the people, who lent support to the Telangana movement, simply because these people also found a reason for the separate state...”

J R Janumpalli: “Once again your Frankly Speaking piece ‘And not a dog barked’ makes us wonder, if you have understood the problem in the ongoing spat by a section of the press.

“The two channels—TV9 and ABN-Andhra Jyoti – are not the genuine press and their behavior is not the freedom of press you are so painstakingly trying to explain. Being in Hyderabad you know the ground realities, yet choosing to champion this section of yellow press in the name of press freedom makes a sad reading. Your discourse on freedom of press sounds misplaced here. Telangana people are as democratic as any other people in the country. They know what freedom of press means. Their denouncing the two bigoted channels is not an attack on the freedom of press. It is actually trying to save the Indian press from the ignominy of bigotry.”

There are some more letters on similar lines criticising me for championing the cause of the two Telugu TV channels. The purpose of writing this column is to clear the misunderstanding among some of the readers, though I do not owe any explanation to anyone. Being a senior journalist and Editor of 50 years of standing I belong to the old school of journalism and do not compromise on freedom of press and freedom of expression. At the same time I am known for professional integrity, honesty and truthfulness.

I can reassure the readers and the intellectuals that at no point did I take a stand for a section of the press or take deliberate potshots at the authorities. If anything, I did my best to perform the role of an unbiased judge who aired his opinion on the way things were going topsy-turvy because of individual interpretations. The meaning of the column in discussion, or any pieces by me for that matter, will be in seeing things between the lines and trying to educate the masses on how the particular issue ought to be read or understood. Giving a proper perspective is the intention behind the column. I am sure my critics will understand that I have taken the versions of each party on their merit before drawing my own judgment, in the manner I felt was appropriate, which was in tune with the democratic principles of functioning and were within the realms of freedom of the press.

People who have been associated with me in the past five decades, including my colleagues, have always respected my avowed principles of sticking to journalistic ethics as laid by the founding fathers. I never hesitate to call a spade a spade nor do I get influenced by any vested interests.

All my columns come straight from the heart and are based on judgmental values. They never revolve around character assassination. That has never been my kind of journalism.

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