Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dont blame Journalists

Like many encounters between the terrorists/naxalites and police, encounter at Jamianagar in Delhi too generated a debate. The debate - the encounter is fake or genuine. Those questioning the encounter have perhaps recalled the scene introducing Abhishek Bachchan in BLUFF MASTER. Nobody to blame, these days journalists write scripts. Scripts that get good 'numbers' and numbers that satisfies their bosses. The action of the police was questioned when the encounters tookplace at an isolated place in the wee hours. Surprisingly the action is also questioned when the encounter takes place in broad daylight and in crowded locality like the Jamia Nagar. Agreed that to Question is what media should teach, but certainly not to question just for the sake of questioning. Questioning by an organisation or group cannot be called irresponsible but questioning by media can be termed irresponsible. Common man may not have access to 'police sources' and therefore raise questions, but media has access to several of the 'police sources' like forensic, ballistic, etc,. And this sources are not just limited to one case or incident. The reporters develop sources to an extent that some of the inputs are shared with them but not their officers or colleagues.

Unfortunately journalists do not have time to understand the perspective of an incident. Who is to blame? The police? Or the Journalists? Read Praveen Swami article "Behind the Batla House shootout" (The Hindu Op-Ed,10th October, 2008) on Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma's injuries.
Dont blame the media if they have written, based on a photograph, to question the claims of the police. The blame has to be taken by the Police. Hundreds of Journalists throng the Police Headquarters in cities like Delhi and Mumbai for News. Senior police officers converse with the Journalists and comment after they leave their office about the journalistic quotient of the reporter.
The police should conduct orientation classes for those reporting crime. Teach them the basics of ballistic and forensic science. Why not examine, evaluate and certifying the crime reporters? Objective and responsive journalism cannot be possible without the partnership of the stake holders.

2 comments:

sriram velamuri said...

excellent article.such type of classes must made mandatory for all reporters before being inducted into tvchannels.

vageesh said...

Your suggestions for crime reporting is good. Knowledge technical part, and leagal part of crime is essentioal for Crime and Leagal reporters( For that matter any special area of reporting)

Added to thet when reporting an ENCOUNTER it is always better not to fall in line with only one source.

The deadlines,the sensational value,and other Newes market related pressures will be there on journalists. But it is essential to report what is there on the face.
Whle reporting cases like jamia Nagar it is better to say This is the Version of A- say Police,
This is the Version-B say the People.

Reporting by journalists is the major way of openion bulding in public realm.Hence they have to be trained for that.

media houses should conduct regulor oriantation classes and develop other means of providing info about SPECIAL AREAS to journalists.This is the need of the hour.

All said and done Journalism should not be stooped down to petty sensationalism.it is dangerous and leads to many couterproductive developments.

-Vageesh