“Journalists should be watchdogs, not lapdogs.” – Newton Lee
Responsible Journalism – the term itself instils and evokes one to adopt habits that make them an ethical media person. Over the years, media has been degraded to the level of controversies, masala, crime booster and what not. But nobody cares to dig down deeper to find why such things happen. The trend is such that media knowingly and un-knowingly over-hypes and inflates an issue from size zero to ten, making it look larger than life when it is as minute as a grain of rice. Every issue that gets addressed on the media screen gets too much importance at that time, only to be forgotten later. From front page headlines to back page right rail section, the news jumps out of the media and mind. It doesn’t end here – media is often shown throwing biased opinions on one topic than showcasing just the main news, aggravating the issue and selected group of citizens furthermore.
The need of the hour in India is to have responsible journalists who have a human touch to address issues that are instrumental and sentimental. For people in this field and those who are pursuing journalism courses in India, it is essential to crush and infuse the basic ethics of journalism deep down in their gut. Stories that are printed or broadcasted should have balanced context and should not be born out of lies. Journalists cannot guarantee truth – nobody can, but if you are covering a piece you need to have your facts correct. You should never inflict any harm – be it personal or through a religious connotation. A particular story can be hurtful to anybody; you have no control over it, however you should be bold enough to pre-determine its consequences and own it up. Another sure sign of professionalism is to be accountable for what you do and learning to take its responsibility than throwing anything in the air.
The face of media is changing in our country. In fact we are regarded as “world’s most linguistically diverse news landscape,” with over 100 24×7 news channels, dailies and other mediums. There are thousands who strive to take admission in the best journalism colleges in India. But the need is not only to become one, but to become a responsible, independent, voiced and truthful journalist.