The symposium debated whether media should take a stand
“Media should be unbiased but it has a right to have a view,” said K.R. Sreenivas, Resident Editor of Times of India in a symposium on “whose news, whose views?: Democratic aspirations and challenges before media” here on Wednesday.
The symposium was organised by the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy (CSSEP), Goa University (GU).
Mr. Sreenivas said that media could not avoid taking stand in today's world of multiple choices, contestations, and anxieties. There was no point of view which was not debated and countered. Hailing Anna Hazare's movement, he said it was a good sign for the health of democracy that people's angst was being channelled for a legislative reform.
Taking a strong good-old-school view of journalism, Nandini Sahai, Director, International Centre Goa (ICG), said media should not be a player and an activist; its role should be confined to be an objective observer and analyst.
She was critical of the over-the-top role of media, especially the 24x7 electronic media, during the recent Jan Lokpal movement and added that media should not thrust one stand on the masses, rather pros and cons of the Bill could have been debated.
She said media should introspect and think about its own “corrupt practices” before pointing fingers at politicians and bureaucrats.“Media should have conscience, but should not attempt to become conscience-keeper,” said Ms. Sahai. “Press in any democracy plays a vital role in creating and moulding public opinion, and shaping public policies. Role of media is to educate and inform citizens, but sadly this is no more the scenario now,” said Ms. Sahai.
Dinesh Vaghela, Central Core Committee member of India Against Corruption, said media should be selective in presenting news and views not only because of space crunch but also because of choices made on the basis of ethical and social concerns.
Largely, media was a part and parcel of changing mores and ethos of society, but there must be minimum self-monitoring if it had to play an effective role in social change.
K.S. Bhat, Dean, Languages, Goa University, said the question of truth had become problematic after the realisation that truth could be produced by the matrices of power relationship in a society. That was why it was imperative for the media to question powers, including its own power.