Senior journalist Krishna Prasad has said that Indian journalism is currently going through its worst phase in history, much worse than the situation during the Emergency in the country.
Speaking at the ‘Press Day’ programme, organised by the Dharwad District Union of Working Journalists (DDUWJ), here on Sunday, Mr. Prasad said that while the Emergency, declared by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, had a beginning and an end, the current situation of ‘undeclared emergency’ had neither a date for its start nor a date for its end, which was a matter of concern.
Quoting from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities , he said: “As far as Indian journalism is concerned we are in the best of times and worst of times. While journalism has grown in size, a matter of concern is that press freedom is questioned by all and India has slipped to the 138th position in terms of press freedom. Insulting journalism and name-calling has become a trend and 14 journalists, including Gauri Lankesh, Shujaat Bukhari, have met been killed while on duty. It is also sad that corruption and blackmailing have become part of journalism.”
Mr. Prasad said that on ‘Press Day’, journalists should ponder over whether they were actually reporting what they should have reported and who was preventing them from reporting those stories.
“We should now think about the stories that we are not reporting. We are in God’s chosen profession and we need to remember that we are here to serve the people,” he said.
Quoting the former Press Council of India chairman Markandey Katju, Mr. Prasad said that the Indian media was now facing three big problems.
“The first one is of diversion from serious to non-serious issues. The second is dividing people communally and the third is promoting superstition and obscurantism,” he said and concluded his speech with a quote by Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change you want to see”.
President of the Karnataka Media Academy listed out the measures taken by the academy to protect the interests of the media personnel and programmes initiated for their welfare.
Pradeep Shettar, MLC, highlighted the need for media to shun sensationalism and promised to take up the issue of getting pension to retired journalists.
On the occasion, nine media personnel from the print and the electronic media were honoured with awards instituted by DDUWJ.
The meritorious children of journalists were given cash prizes and senior journalist D.V. Mutalikdesai was honoured with the lifetime achievement award.