'2G spectrum scam rings introspection among scribes'

Prof B K Chandrashekar tabling his view at an interaction organised by Mysore District Journalists Association (MDJA) in Mysore on Sunday. (L-R) MDJA President K Shivakumar, thinker D N Nagabushan, journalists Dinesh Aminmattu and Raveendra Reshme, MDJA General Secretary B S Prabhurajan are seen. DH photo

Call for introspection among journalists, revising broadcasting laws setting code of conduct for scribes and infusing morality among those in the realm.

These were a few among the opinions aired at an interaction on ‘Lohia’s memory and which way professionalism in journalists is heading?’ organised by Mysore District Journalists Association (MDJA) in commemoration of birth centenary of socialist Dr Rammanohar Lohia’, here on Sunday.

It was also a relevant topic in the wake of media itself in dock following the unearthing of big names involved in  2G spectrum scam.

Prajavani Assistant Editor Dinesh Aminmattu termed the year 2010 a gloomy for media. When the legislature is behaving akin to fence eating the crop, the story of judiciary is also not different as judges themselves are in dock. Media regarded as fourth estate of Indian democracy hit the headlines for ‘paid news’, followed by the recent 2G spectrum scam that has mooted the demand for self-introspection.

Journalism has undergone enormous changes in the last 50 years and has grown as an industry of late. The gap between the editorial and advertisement bureau has lessened. More worrying is, the days are not far when journalists will be asked to file details of their assets. Ink flows from the pen dancing to the tunes of netas, he said.

Aminmattu said, it’s not new for the politicians to lure journalists as it is happening unabated since the days of then Chief Ministers R Gundurao and S M Krishna. In his advice the senior journalist said ‘journalism should set tone practicing the concept of ‘readers real owners of newspapers’.

Thinker D N Nagabushan recalled the days of Lohia as a journalist bringing out two journals- Mankind and Chowkamba. Lohia was giving importance for value based writings aiming at creating a healthy atmosphere.

Nowadays, it’s vice-versa and the newspapers should inculcate such values apart from the routine work. Lohia had strong relation with Mysore and had contacts with writer Devanur Mahadeva, litterateur U R Ananthamurthy, journalist Rajashekar Koti, Prof Shivaram Kadanakuppe, Kannada activist P Mallesh and  freedom fighter Vedantha Hemmige during 70’s.  Nagabushan gave a call for the journalists to maintain distance from the system.

Another journalist Raveendra Reshme said ‘if the year 1980 saw scams valued at several lakhs, now the value has increased to crores’. It is still impossible for the national papers to read the pulse of Karnataka politics. With the unearthing of Radia tape, time has come for the journalists to introspect, he stressed.

Drawing an analogy between the national and community newspapers, former minister Prof B K Chandrashekar said that the latter has upheld the dignity of the nation. Saying that judiciary and journalism should not take any erroneous steps, Chandrashekar said for the past one year both are in news for bad reasons.  Corruption laced with a difference has begun in journalism, with scribes wasting the newsprint for some freebie forgetting professional ethics. Though the veteran journalists like Vir Sanghvi and Barkha Dutt, and lobbyist Nira Radia were exposed in relation to 2G Spectrum Scam, it wasn’t newsworthy for national media. It’s only in the blogs, twitter and facebook the issue was discussed.

Mincing no words, Chandrashekar said that the journalists should not act as middlemen, instead act sensibly safeguarding the public interest. He exhorted for bringing changes in broadcasting law.

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