For those readers who have been following my write-ups for the last ten years or so in Merinews and other periodicals would bear witness that I’d always tried to do a balanced analysis of news based on proven facts and not on fiction. Honest Journalism with objectivity has always been my mode of communication. Journalism is my hobby, and not my profession.
Looking at the pathetic plight of
highly qualified doyens of the field of journalism today, I feel destiny had
saved me from a lot of worse situations where I were to make several
humiliating compromises to survive professionally and remain relevant. I
salute those journalists who have withstood all types of pressures and kept
their loyalty intact towards their profession.
A journalist does not create news in North, East, West and
South. I believe that a journalist garners the news to carry it to the reader
or listener and empowers him / her to make decisions – small or big. It might
me a piece of entertainment also. Journalism is a part of Kingdom of
Communication that encompasses so many other activities of life like
advertisement, propaganda and even blackmail. Journalism is based upon strong
code of ethics. A journalist is duty bound to provide people the verified
information they can use to make better decisions, A journalist strives to find
not just the facts, but also the “truth about the facts.” And it has always
been a difficult terrain.
Had it not been the courage of American investigative journalist
Seymour Hersh the world would have not known about brutal massacre of My Lai by
American army in Vietnam. Had it not been the relentless efforts of Washington
Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein the world would have been
unaware of the lower depths a President of United States would go to serve his
purpose. Nobody would have known about the Watergate scandal but for Bob and
India is a democratic country and we all are proud of it.
India follows its constitution rigidly and devotedly. Our Constitution says
that any Indian has six fundamental rights, freedom of speech and
expression is one of them. For a true journalist, this is the most
We have a rich tradition of Journalism. In the year 1780 an
Irish person known by the name of James Augustus Hicky started a newspaper
called ‘Bengal Gazette’ (or Calcutta general advertiser). The entire newspaper
consisted of only 4 pages. The newspaper was well-known for fearlessly
criticizing the money-making and political policies of the East India Company.
James Hickey is also known as the ‘Papa of Indian Press.’ It was the first beam
of Journalism in India that served as a public watchdog against the
mismanagement and wrong-doings of British government and corruption in the
According to the authentic history, Moulvi Mohammad Baqir,
born in 1780 at Delhi was the bravest Indian journalist who fought against the
British rule. He had entered the field of journalism and in January 1837 with
Urdu weekly “Delhi Akhbar” This newspaper survived for about 21 years during
which its name was changed twice. On 3 May 1840 it was renamed as “Delhi Urdu
Akhbar” while on 12 July 1857 Delhi Urdu Akhbar was renamed after the Mughal
Emperor Bahadur Shah as “Akhbar-al-Zafar”. And then its ten last issues came
out with this name. Delhi Urdu Akhbar was the proclaimer of the feelings of the
nation.The newspaper played vital and leading role in creating political
awakening in the masses and uniting them against the foreign rulers. It ignited
the love of freedom and gave the courage and confidence to rally against the British
Raj. Soon after the start of first freedom struggle of 1857 it became a freedom
fighter itself. Maulvi Muhammad Baqir was a great advocate of Hindu Muslim
unity. When in order to weaken the freedom struggle the British started to sow
the seeds of discord among the public Delhi Urdu Akhbar challenged them and
cautioned the people against the tactic of colonial rulers. All these actions
of Mr Baqar angered the British and they decided to eliminate him. On 4 June
1857 Maulvi Muhammad Baqir warned the masses of the conspiracies of the British
and appealed to them to remain united. Maulvi Muhammad Baqir was arrested on
14th September 1857 for revolt and without being tried, he was shot dead on 16
September 1857 by Major William S.R. Hudson. Thus Moulvi Mohammad Baqir became
FIRST EDITOR who sacrifice his life and became martyr for the freedom of our
In 1912, an Urdu weekly ‘Al-Hilal’ was founded and edited by
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad which was a message, a movement, a voice of protest and
revolt which for the first time since 1857 shook the British Empire.
And on June 26, 1975 when
President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed drew on Article 352 of the Constitution to
declare a state of internal emergency – the presidential proclamation which
said “the security of India is threatened by internal disturbance” It were the
daring “The Indian Express” and “The Statesman” that refused to lick the boots.
Most mainstream dailies, magazines and journals fell in line. Newspapers like
Himmat, Seminar, Mainstream, Janata, Quest, Freedom First,
Frontier, Sadhana, Tughlak, Swarajya and Neerikshak were censored and banned.
The Indian Express and The Statesman left the lead editorial space blank as a
mark of protest. The BBC withdrew its correspondent, Mark Tully. Writer and
actress Snehalatha Reddy died in prison after she was denied parole for
Between June 26, 1975 and March
21, 1977, when the Emergency was in force, the government suspended the right
to move court for enforcement of Fundamental Rights. Supreme Court Justice H R
Khanna took a principled stand against attacks on the Constitution and attempts
to subvert justice. He was the only dissenter in the five-member Bench that
ruled against habeas corpus, allowing the government to detain a person
Those were the times bereft of I
say statecraft or a leap into the darkness. However, we saw another kind of
journalism since 2014 where lunatic outbursts of biased anchor like Arnab
Goswami find their place in civilized tele-debates. The anchors unpleasantly and
brazely insult, indirectly intimidate and play the second fiddle for RSS / BJP
and Ultra Right Corporate world in full glare.
There was a time, at the height
of his popularity, every move of Rajeeve Gandhi was lauded a master stroke. The
media made us believe that he could do no wrong.
Today, in the times of the
triumphant march of Narendra Modi has scripted, he words are treated as Gospel.
His cave of a night is to be made a pilgrim’s destination. We forget that his
mandate was won not for his achievements of last five years. We kept aside
those records that reflected India’s spluttering economy. We ignore that almost
every democratic institution has been tuned as a subservient government
instrument. We know but fear to declare that it was not ‘Sabka vikas, sabka
saath’ but the manipulation the caste identity politics that put the success on
platter. False claims, twisted facts and partisan slogans in full throttle
jammed the brains for any pragmatic analysis. We are ready or about to
surrender the ideals of democratic and secular India that were the hallmark of
our civilization. With the people like Sadhvi Praghya in Parliament, the
Hindutva agenda of the RSS is going to change the Indian way of life. With the
absence of representation of Indian Muslims in every forum, we are forcing the
Indian Muslims to become political orphans.
India’s soul of religious tolerance
is going to be lost into darker ravines of religious bigotry.
Brave journalist like Karan
Thaper, Ravish Kumar, Prasun Bajpai, Abhisar Sharma, Vinod Dua and many more
are facing difficulties to convey their message.
I hope Narendra Modi, after his great victory
second time, will realise that the better India is the India based on Gandhian
thoughts. Godse should never be a new icon!