Justice Markandey Katju's article “Media and issues of responsibility” (Oct. 22) was timely. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right but we need to take firm action when it is abused and misused.
The electronic media have a wide reach with a telling impact. An unhealthy competition is on among various television news channels to “break news.” In the bargain, credibility, reliability and truthfulness become the casualty. Some news channels function like a propaganda wing of political parties.
The media play a crucial role in a developing country like India. But, as mentioned by Justice Katju, instead of covering important people's issues, they give importance to non-issues which include gossip about film stars, fashion shows and so on. A newspaper gave prominent coverage to an actress' pregnancy, and even carried the news of a European leader's daughter having trouble with dandruff.
The media have a huge responsibility in nation-building. They have played a vital role in political, social and cultural transformation. They, therefore, should discharge their duty responsibly.
J. Arun Vijay,
The print and the electronic media are in a rat race to increase their readership and viewership. They look at maximising profits. This has many negative consequences for the public. The media sensationalise mundane issues, carry political propaganda as news for money, and take sides on issues instead of presenting a neutral view. Responsible journalism is necessary for a country like India to hasten the process of development.
M. Anil Reddy,
I often wonder why our media give so much importance to cricket and cinema when there are many other important issues that need to be addressed. Winning an ODI gets a wider coverage than a farmer's suicide or lathicharge on farmers.
As the new Chairman of the Press Council of India, Justice Katju's tenure marks the advent of a golden phase for this institution. The defects he has highlighted are accurate. According to me, there two major reasons for these.
One of them is greed which is an inherent part of our nature. Greed, as symbolised in the Bhagawat Gita, is one of the three gates to destruction; the other two being lust and anger. Greed is not merely for ‘money' but a greed for ‘power' and ‘fame' which causes what can be termed as irresponsible behaviour by the media. High TRPs, which in turn generate more revenue, are in demand when the real issues are sidelined or the facts twisted. The other reason is that the ‘the media delivers what the people demand.' Perhaps it has also to do with people hardly evincing interest in serious issues like farmer suicides. The responsibility lies with the audience and readers who have to understand their responsibilities as citizens of this nation and pay more heed to the real issues.