We are accomplices in our own demise and decline: Sardesai

We are accomplices in our own demise and decline: Sardesai

Journalist Rajdeep Sardesai said media should make use of citizen journalism to enable change in society as information is no longer prerogative of few individuals.

Delivering the second Dr M V Kamath Endowment Lecture on the topic ‘Media as an Agent of Change in Society,’ the journalist said once upon a time, journalists were inclined to the world of ideas and letters, however, today journalists believe they have answers and others should ask questions. Journalists have become polarised and divided into camps, he said. They are termed and identified as liberal or pseudo liberal, secular or pseudo secular, either nationalist or anti nationalist. The most worrying part is the resulting cacophony that exists in the society, which has created a serious credibility crisis for average journalists, he noted.

He said journalists are shaped by the society around and are far more immune for the temptations that rest of society is, whether in terms of money or power. Over the years, journalists have let themselves down as a tribe and professionals. “We are the accomplice in our own demise and decline.”

He opined that lines between the facts and opinion is blurred, he said, referring to the hard realities in Kashmir verses the Kashmir shown in media. Unfortunately, the complex truth is rarely placed before the reader or the viewer. As a journalist, one should have the capacity and ability to give space to different voices without imposing the self views. We have reduced the complex issue into the black and white polarities, he added, referring to the media role in the JNU issue. Sensation has replaced sense, noise has replaced news and chaos has taken the place of credibility. Magic urge for TRPs  has become more essential. The genuine public interest stories fail to grab the attention of media, he lamented.

The issues like deep inequalities, violence, corruption, tribal unrest is missing from media coverage. As hope co-exists with cynicism, the scribe said the country has been dramatically changing. The change never is discovered inside the television news studio.

However, there are local newspapers and media, which can be agents of change. “We are in the age of 360 degree media. When intelligently used the very sane media, there would be potentialities of great social change.” Paid media is a grim reality and change will only come up when those at the top of the pyramid of society are under scanner. The laws of criminal defamation and seditions are bondage carried from British legacy, which prevents the media from taking up exposure, he maintained.

Stating that media should celebrate the goodness quotient in the country, the veteran scribe said stories should help others to be the catalyst of positive changes. Journalists should try to bring solutions and try to bridge the gap between have and have-nots, he added referring to the agrarian crisis. 

Websites and news apps (digital media) can work wonder in targeting the interest group. Marriage between content and technology will change the media game. Social media can be used as an instrument of power to affect the change in society. Society should not lose the conscience and if the concern for societal change is genuine, one can surely bring about the changes, he concluded.

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