An open letter to all Journalists
On World Press Freedom Day, I urge my fellow colleagues and counterparts in India & across the globe to continue to do their noble duty of providing unbiased, verifiable and authentic information to the people. Information is power; it can either be disastrous or beneficial to the world.
Being at the pivot of this crucial role of information sourcing and dissemination, the onus is on us to continue to remain the trusted pillar of democracy, either by strengthening it or weakening it for various nefarious agenda, not to mention profits.
For journalism is a duty to inform, educate and entertain, playing into the hands of corporate players - who are into media business for profits - is a slap in the face of those who sacrifice their lives for upholding the truth & democracy.
Journalism is more about providing authentic and accurate information to the masses, providing a platform for the oppressed to raise their voices, questioning the Government, the Judiciary and the Corporate for any aberrations than just hosting a TV show with audience-centric punch lines for TRPs, profits and popularity.
On this day, I also condemn actions against journalists for speaking up the truth, for upholding democracy and human rights. In the same vein, I also denounce the killings of journalists for exposing the truth with apparent impunity.
On this UN-designated special day for press freedom, I also stand by journalists who are vehemently seeking freedom of the press for the sake of democracy and its people. By gagging the neutral press, the Government, in a sense does injustice to its people.
I also take this opportunity to join forces with the global journalists' fraternity who are seeking viable economic models for survival so that information dissemination remains non-partisan and accurate, and doesn’t get dictated by propagandists and profiteers.
In addition, in the age of social media and WhatsApp-like platforms where every Tom, Dick & Harry is empowered to write, troll & forward agenda-driven posts, journalists across the globe need to come together to confer with the IT-tech giants to create a strategy to sanitise and regulate the content marketing world.
Lastly, during these COVID-19-induced harsh times, it becomes doubly important for journalists to source and disseminate accurate information for the benefit of society at large. It’s also important to take note of the fact that - during these difficult times - media should play a constructive role by prodding the Government of the day to respond to emergency situations timely and act, holding them accountable for their failures and pressurising them to take corrective actions fearlessly - unlike those biased, rotten and profiteering ones - entrenched into the edifice of the media world - whose only objective is to cast a shadow on the Government's performances come what may.
That reflects poorly on the fourth pillar of democracy! Not that all are part of this sordid underbelly of the media world!
Hats off to those who aren’t and stick by the ethics of the noble profession of journalism.
(The writer is a media professional.)
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