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Gatekeepers or Cheerleaders?

The threat to sacrosanctity of media is a matter of concern not only for us but for generations to come.

By | Rashid Indrabi                         

                                                                                     One of the graces of a democratic system is the freedom of expression and the space that is provided to disagreement by different sections of society.It has four pillars: Judiciary, Legislature, Executive and Media. The former three keep up an arrangement of balanced governance while as the media guarantees straightforwardness in each of the three frameworks. 
It makes us aware of different social, monetary and policy centred issues that encompass us. As the backbone of the democracy, media plays a vital function in molding it solid. Humans crave information, which is why they are heavily relied upon the Media. The African-American Muslim minister and Human Rights activist, Malcolm X once said that, “The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power, because they control the minds of the masses”.  

In the age of digitalization, what we see now, journalists are constrained either to toe the government’s line or face consequences. Lion’s share of news media is by all accounts willfully diverting the majority from what ought to really be shown.
Press freedom in India is endlessly secured and is just compromised by the ever developing nexus among legislatures and degenerate distributers. India is home to one of the greatest and quickly growing media industry on the planet. A profession in news casting requiring no base capability has opened ways to engineers, doctors and legal advisers, all the same. India has ground breaking and powerful electronic media with solid homegrown viewership. On account of monstrous venture from corporate players, electronic media is now the battleground for political and electoral debates.
India, a nation with populace of more than 135 crores and their feelings being ceaselessly framed by an assortment of news sources developed to turn into a democracy in 1947, however media here is as yet far from being fair.  Although there are exceptions, but in few numbers. Some print media associations in India are really doing what can truly be called as reporting. 
Be that as it may, how free is the media in India? The need to broadcast day in and day out news has put worry over the media. For the purpose of ‘Shimmering’ content, they have moved to cover even the unwanted provincial, thrilling and sensational content, labeling it as news. World Press Freedom Index positions India at 138th out of 180 countries behind nations like Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, and Myanmar. Media intimidation is surely a reality however a danger confronted generally by nearby correspondents situated in smaller towns where a murder of journalist barely manages to draw wider attention on the issue. While instances of media bias are nothing new, it has now stretched far beyond the tolerable limits.  
Currently under Governor’s rule, Jammu and Kashmir got introduced to the new Media policy in June 2020 which gives government the power to decide what news is “anti-national” and what is not. This act has been highly criticized by a lot of journalists and intellectuals terming it as an ‘attack’ on freedom of speech and expression. Avinash Kumar, Amnesty International’s Executive Director for India in an article published by Amnesty International in April said, “Harassment and intimidation of journalists through draconian laws such as UAPA threatens the efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic and creates an atmosphere of fear and reprisal. 
In Kashmir, this has been compounded through the general lockdown, prolonged restrictions on internet speed and arbitrary detentions often without any kind of documentation, access to lawyers and recourse to justice. This severely undermines the human rights guarantees of the people of Kashmir and denies the people in India and around the world’s right to know.”.“Journalists in Kashmir have been summoned to police stations and forced to present themselves to explain their stories,” the article further read.Talking about the current scenario of media in India, Taiyuba Amin, a student of Journalism in Kashmir said, “News reporting has become opinion mongering by superstar columnists with their western established thoughts on radicalism and resilience”. 
She further included that the opportunity, autonomy, and pluralism of Indian media are in question and this must be stood up to. 
A few cases that are not even pertinent to the overall population get a great deal of consideration while as issues like joblessness, increment in self-destruction rates, the financial log jam get simply one show a month. The content in TV news media specifically is driven by an inclination to place sensation above sense in the quest for appraisals. The race for higher TRPs has made news media to a greater extent a satire show. Advancement is inescapable in any industry, with media being no exception. However, the purpose of evolution should not bypass a collective cause. India has numerous difficult issues that require consideration like destitution, defilement, poverty, crime rate and so on. Power of media with the help of citizens can be a danger to any individual or organization that carries obstruction to any nation’s development.The threat to sacrosanctity of media is a matter of concern not only for us but for generations to come because the hogwash by contemporary media will eventually affect the next generation reporting. 

The writer is Journalism student at IUST and can be contacted at [email protected]Note : Views expressed in this article are writer’s own , Inside Kashmir doens’t endorse it .