Himachal Journalists call for self-introspection by media in wake of elections- 2009

Veteran journalist and director of India Media Centre, Delhi Shyam Khosla called for self-introspection by media in view of commercialization of media space during elections 2009.

Delivering keynote address at a seminar over the weekend by Indian Media Centre, Shimla chapter on “Elections 2009- Role of Media’” , Khosla said the need for the hour is free fair and fearless media.

He said self-regulation by individual journalists was important, and the journalists should have the commitment to work with a professional approach, and should have guts to face the odds. “They should not succumb to pressures within the organization or outside’’, he said. He said the media persons should get organised and start exposing the wrong doers in the profession.

Khosla said the journalists should not go in for frivolous and sensational reporting just to hog limelight. He said a research back up should be provided to the reporters in their respective organizations, so that the stories do not lack right content.

He said there was a need to have media council, a body with more teeth to regulate media. He said the Press Council of India was ineffective to take any action against defaulters, as it does not have teeth.

He emphasized that the media this time though widely covered the politicians and politics but it failed to set an agenda for the polls and address the real issues of the people.

Veteran journalist and Retired Chairperson from the department of journalism and mass communication, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla , Vepa Rao, who was mediator for the interactive session, too asserted that the evolvement of a healthy system is a big challenge ahead for all of us.

He said that the media at present is suffering from crisis of ethics and investigative skills. He, however, pointed out that things have to change from the top, and the editors should be the ones to sustain the pressures.

Outgoing Director, Public Relations, J.R.Katwal said the media has capacity to mobilize public opinion, so its necessary that it regulates itself. He said in two and a half month long poll coverage, more than 70 per cent of space in media was devoted to meaningless political speeches, whereas other important issues were ignored.

Senior Journalist and President of Shimla Chapter, Indian Media centre, PC Lohumi said that the biggest debate over ethics has been drawn by the concept of space marketing, which even put the credibility of media at stake.

In the interactive session, participants posed thought provoking questions. The district Police chief, Shimla, R.M.Sharma, who was a special invitee, said the media persons should not indulge in forming nexus with the officers.

The bureau chief of PTI, Sanjay Sinha said journalism was a mission in the earlier times, but of late, it was a profession. “So, we have to strike a balance of sorts in fulfilling the objectives’’, he said.

Incoming Director Public Relations, B.D.Sharma, if a journalist decides to do things rightfully, nobody can stop him form taking the risk.

Outgoing deputy commissioner, Amar Singh Rathore, the Vice Chairman of Housing Board, Ganesh Dutt and wife of Shyam Khosla, Madhu Khosla were also present on the occasion, along media persons from the state capital.

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