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Media’s credibility at stake

It is shameful that some newspapers and TV channels sold their news space during the last Lok Sabha elections by publishing advertisements as news (editorial, “Credibility at stake”, Dec 25). Clearly, they have misinformed and misled people and shamelessly flouted journalistic ethics. It is heartening that the Press Council of India and the Editors Guild of India have set up committees to suggest ways to check the menace so that the credibility of the Fourth Estate is not eroded.

Misuse of the media for profits will shake the foundations of our democracy. As a result, men of no consequences with the help of money power may grab political power at the cost of those who may be well-informed and humane, but are unable to meet the unethical demands of the greedy media.

In fact, the media is expected to inform and educate the public in an objective and unbiased manner. It will have to be the voice of the people, especially the marginalised and the needy. The media can do wonders if it follows journalistic ethics. Otherwise, the day is not far off when people will hold them responsible for spreading misinformation. The moot question is—will the Press Council and the Editors Guild be successful in stemming the rot?

The responsible media and the intelligentsia need to launch a strong campaign. Even the Election Commission and Parliament should discuss the issue. No doubt, self-regulation is a better option but it needs a true spirit of service towards the profession and society.



Among the various ills vitiating the role of newspapers as a watchdog, projecting advertisements as news is one of the serious problems. Unfortunately, this malaise has spread its tentacles to many newspapers. Even otherwise, some papers reserve more than 90 per cent of the front-page space for advertisements. Ideally, it should not be more than 25 per cent. I request newspapers to avoid advertisements of fake doctors assuring miraculous results and fake academies assuring brilliant results even for students poor in studies.


Ruchika case

The Ruchika molestation case indicates that the country is depriving citizens of their fundamental rights. Ministers, bureaucrats and police officers responsible for the cover up should be brought to book.

It is sad that Ruchika’s family was harassed. Moreover, while Mr Ananad Parkash who fought for justice for Ruchika was demoted and forced into premature retirement, the guilty SPS Rathore was promoted. All this puts a question mark on our polity, police and the judicial system.



The Law Minister has stated that the Ruchika case needs to be reviewed. Now it seems that there is politics over the issue. As if 19 years were not enough for the judiciary, now the Law Minister wants another review. There should be a system whereby cases pending in courts beyond a certain time period should be taken up on priority.  

Why is it that the media wakes up and creates brouhaha only after the system has committed a grave blunder? Before we see more Rathores smirking in public I appeal to the media, the only hope left for voicing the concerns of the citizens in the democracy, to take up other pending cases as well.


Avoid politics at religious events

It is unfortunate and reprehensible that the political parties in Punjab do not hesitate to undermine even the sanctity and solemnity of religious occasions (news report, “Jor Mela: Political leaders trade charges”, Dec 26). The Jor Mela held at Fatehgarh Sahib every year to commemorate the heroic sacrifice of young sons of Guru Gobind Singh Ji is one of such occasions hijacked by our politicians for promoting vested interests.

Ironically, at the religious events and gatherings, our leaders exhort people to follow and learn from the noble teachings of our great gurus and sages as if they are the designated messengers of the latter for this purpose. They do not seem to believe in the saying, “An example is better than a precept.” In most cases their own way of living is not above reproach.

What is worse is that in religious functions, politicians try to divide the people for their narrow political ends and indulge in vilification. In order to maintain the sanctity of religious programmes and functions connected with gurus, seers and saints, who belong to the whole humanity and the world by virtue of the universal appeal of their teachings, the political parties should voluntarily refrain from participating in them. This will be their best homage and respect to the divine people.




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