New values, culture and civilisation are replacing the old. This process is a sort of displacement and establishment – a sort of creation and excretion – that has caused a dilemma in the society. No one knows where to go and what to do? This new development has also affected the media that has all but turned into a 'mandi'. And in this 'media mandi', while a few words are permanent, most are being sold. Advertisements are being sold in the name of news. Most newspapers, instead of becoming a part of democracy, have become tools of conspiracy.
They are only raising those issues which suit their interests; Doordarshan is also indirectly involved in this kind of journalism. They avoid issues which are important but kick up a controversy. News channels are directly involved in a sort of 'prostitution'. While channels give importance to Rahul Mahajan, they have no slot for his ex-wife Shweta. Actually, the news priority given to UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and opposition leader Sushma Swaraj is different from those who lack basic amenities. While reaching Parliament is important for Gandhi and Swaraj, surely a lavatory is important for the poverty-ridden women.
Market rules the 'media mandi', where consistency and endurance are two basic factors that are required to survive. When we, the media people – reporter, writer, editor and media owners – are in the market to prostitute ourselves, do we have any moral right to our raise finger at the character of the market? Does the post of editor still have relevance? Now, there are news traders, news employees, news market, news sellers and news vendors. Altogether, this is the whole scene in the market. Is there any solution to this problem? No. Only resolution of a dedicated editor can solve this everlasting problem. The word akhbaar originated during the Moughal era. The article, which was read in the court of Badshah to introduce him with the state of affairs in his kingdom, was called akhbaar.
With the passage of time, the format of newspaper has changed but the thinking of the rulers remains unchanged. Badshah wanted that division and contradiction should prevail in the society. So, are the Britons and politicians. Mahatma Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi, Madan Mohan Malviya, Bhagat Singh and Ramnath Goenka used media for disseminating information and ideas to unite the Indian society and tried to turn it into good energy conductor. I would like to differentiate between good and bad conductors of energy. For example, if one end of a log is put on fire, its other end never heats up. So, the log is the bad conductor of energy. But as one side of an iron rod is put into furnace, both sides heat up. Therefore, iron is the good conductor of energy. Mahatma Gandhi and others did the same thing. Earlier, any incident in Jammu and Kashmir used to raise a dust in Tamil Nadu. Remember how the incident of Noakhali left Gujarat restless.
After India won freedom, its people turned into a bad conductor of energy. This is the basic difference between Mahatma Gandhi and rest of the 'fake Gandhis'. News magazines like Dinman and Ravivar became a thing of the past after glimmering for sometimes. The situation has come to such a pass that Ambika Soni once said, "The media acts as a repository of public trust for conveying facts to the people. When paid news is presented as news content, it could mislead the people and thereby hamper their judgment to form a correct opinion. Thus, there is no denying the fact that there is an urgent need to protect people's right to correct and unbiased information."
Then the question is: what is the solution to this problem? Alternative media or a determined media? We have decided. Our determination is our strength. We hope that Jan Gan Man guides us so that we may reach you with the objectivity which is meant for you and let your voice of anguish reach the deaf ears of politicians.
We may help the torchbearers of democracy wake up; and we have taken the pledge to give you an alternative of an alternative media. We are marching ahead with this mission. Now, it is to be seen when its spark turns into a fire raising public awareness. We have come to make the society a good conductor of this heat. We are holding up the lamp to lighten the path, determined to glow in the dark and struggle to welcome the dawn of a new morning. Whether you will be with us or not is your decision.
(Published in By-Line National Weekly News Magazine (Hindi & English) - in March 20, 2010 Issue)