The Article by Mr K. Narayanan “The Challenges in retaining the readers” (The Hindu, Dated 26.05.2008) was a thought provoking one. I would just like to add a comment on the last 5-6 lines of the article, where preventing media to publish a politically destabilizing thing is talked about. Instead, I would try to answer his question that who will decide what will be “destabilizing”.
In a country like India where we have a uniquely diversified society, viz hundreds of different castes & sub-castes, different languages, so many political parties, largely varying socio-economic status of the citizens etc, it is extremely important that every attempt should be made to strengthen this matchless unity in diversity. Any such action by anyone (be it an individual, a group, press or who so ever) must be viewed seriously unlawful, which negatively provokes people & destabilize the peace & calmness of environment of the state by adding fuel to the fire.
A recent controversy, as an example, will make my view more clear. A Law examination question paper read about the relationships of some imaginary characters – the names of whom were that of the Hindu Gods. The known relationships between the Hindu Gods were not matching exactly to as that given in the question. This provoked some examinees during the examination, but they were well controlled by the examiners.
This news was widely publicized by some of the TV News channels & the local newspapers. Such was the extent of importance given to this trivial issue, that the media did not hesitate calling this as the “Breaking News” (some TV News channels) & the front-page top-most news in local dailies.
The result was most obvious. It aroused the orthodox Hindu groups. There were unnecessary protests & disturbances. The paper setter (who was Hindu as well) faced the derogatory situations. He was assaulted – both physically & mentally.
This was a grossly irresponsible behavior played by the media. So as an answer to Mr Narayanan’s question that who will decide what is “destabilizing”, I can pose a question that do we really need written laws, procedures & definitions to understand that such an action by media was totally un-called-for? What is the role of Editors & the Senior Management of the press if such an action can’t be checked?
In such instances, some of the news channels & news papers don’t actually think of their moral responsibility, but just about the market forces which will help the sale of their air time of the newspaper.
Any genuine citizen of this country will not at all appreciate this, but would surely cry loud on how the “Freedom of Press” is misinterpreted & misused by the news channels & news papers for their own benefit. Although I (the citizen of this country) salute the responsible journalism but I just have three words to say to the other worst part of this coin “Shame on You” !!