Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has called for the development of a democratic space within the media and for creation of media literacy among the people in order to nurture ethical and unbiased journalism.
Introducing the topic at a symposium on ‘EMS and The Media’ organized in connection with the birth centenary of former Chief Minister E.M.S. Namboodiripad here on Sunday, Dr. Isaac said it was essential that freedom and rights of journalists, and not of the owner of the media, got priority. This would eventually help in formulation of a media policy, which in turn would see that journalism was free from commercialization and unethical practices.
Citing various examples of anti-Left campaigns and pre-meditated attacks on the Left by certain sections of the media that adopted unethical and biased positions, the Minister said EMS, who essentially had to be considered an equal to Malayalam journalistic stalwarts Swadeshabhimani K. Ramakrishna Pillai and Kesari Balakrishna Pillai, had shown how an alternative media could be run in the age of commercialization and such unprincipled reporting.
Pointing out that certain sections of the mainstream media was effectively using phony Marxist stands to attack the Left and to hide the truth, Dr. Isaac said such media houses had attempted to set the agenda even for CPI (M) conferences, as was seen prior to the Malappuram Conference. This failed, and so did several other ‘stories’ floated by them.
The only one they managed to keep aflame was the SNC Lavalin controversy. Even there, the attitude of the media was evident on Sunday, when many newspapers and television channels, after “celebrating” the Lavalin issue for the last five years, chose to downplay the CBI affidavit which in essence “negated the allegations levelled against CPI (M) State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan”, he said.
This was why an alternative media that encouraged democratic space within itself and the rights and freedom of journalists and not media owners, was required, Dr. Isaac said.
Recalling that he himself was at the receiving end of depraved journalism for the People’s Plan campaign that he initiated, Dr. Isaac said none were willing to give the other side of the story to balance their reports. And after several years of unsuccessful speculations, even when the victimized side was ready with evidence to counter their allegations, they were not ready to publish that or to admit that they were wrong.
Keywords: Role of media