Thursday, May 7, 2009


Media is a strong pillar in a democracy it is generally said. One important politician recently called some of the electronic media as news traders and news manufacturers. I do not subscribe to these views completely at the same time, in my opinion, media is not playing the positive role it is expected to. It can and should cover news which is of importance to the common man, communicating the problems to the state on behalf of the common man. Instead what do see and hear, TRP chasing news restricted to political power centers, a bit of bollywood and limited time for cricket (not sports)

100cr people can form their opinion, can be opinion formers and can gain knowledge on various subjects. (Politics is not the life of the country—some even hate it)
In my view, some of the issues /topics that media, especially electronic should keep the viewer informed are those which touch the common man on day to day living.
Recently, Justice Katju in his order has directed the centre to constitute a committee to conduct SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH to solve problem of water shortage in the country. It further says” You have no right to be in office if you can not provide water”, says Justice Katju while issuing directions to the Govt. After 62 yrs, the SC has been compelled to issue such direction. Should this not be reported to the viewers as it could change the life of millions of citizens when they get water?

Centre was, earlier directed by the SC to implement Police reforms. Should not the viewer be informed of the progress as it concerns the common man in his day to day living? Read Mr Ved Marwaha’s interview in Tehlka of 25/04/09 on his experience during 1984 anti-Sikh riots. We will realize why Police reforms are foremost for us and who is holding them back.

In 2005, Govt had imposed an educational cess of 2%.Fine, as long as it would benefit those who needed it most. It is estimated that the total revenue collection has been over Rs 1 lakh crores.It would help if the viewers are informed as to what additional schools, colleges and facilities have been established since the introduction of educational cess as it is a matter of Rs 1 lakh crores tax payers money. In fact it will add to the credibility of the Govt if such figures are tabulated. Why not? You may like to read an article by Prof. Anil Sadgopal.”politics of education” in Sunday India 4-10 May issue.
Prohibition of child marriage act was notified in yr 2006.Inspite of this act being in force, hundreds of child marriages have been reported in Rajasthan. Should such acts not be reported so that corrective steps are taken and people at large are made to understand the implications?

Healthcare is important factor in our daily life. Unfortunately, it is far from comparable to any developing country in the world. Emergency Medical Services is a part of the same sector and the Ambulance service falls under EMS. Govt ambulances in the city lack the basic facilities, even though there are laid down guidelines. Media should be highlighting the facilities or lack of those and make people aware. This is the condition when most of the private hospitals have been allotted land on throw away rates (?) with a condition that 10-20% beds will be reserved for the poor. We all, including, the media is aware of the facts but they refuse to expose the culprits.

Post 26/11, media should bring out the facts if the police is still holding Lathis or there have now got improved version of weapons. They should also interview those who lit candles on the Gateway to check if they all voted. My gut feeling is that they did not.

Every week-end we hear breaking news about inflation. People understand MEHNGAI and not inflation. If the % rate of inflation is falling, why are the prices of wage goods like vegetables are sky-rocketing?Nimbu is at Rs 90/ per Kg. This needs to be explained to those who understand Mehngai.

I have mentioned very few examples. The idea is to reach out to the common man as he/she is the one who suffers the most. And of course establish the credibility of the media.
Instead of repeatedly showing and discussing Shah Rukh Khan’s new vanity van on most of the news channels, I wish some of the above subjects were covered and social messages were relayed. In my opinion, reaching out to the common man is more important than showing and discussing the making of SRK van, its bathroom, sitting area….who is interested. I am not.
Media has a social responsibility which it must fulfill.


author........B K Chowla

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