Responsible journalism must for strong democracy

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In the present hour, amidst the growing influence of social media, the importance of credibility for media has increased more than ever. Today, while the emphasis is on getting news in channels and newspapers across the country quickly, it is also very important to maintain objectivity and accuracy in the news. Internet and information rights (RTI) has made today’s journalism multifaceted and endless. Today, any information can be made available in a blink of an eye. Media has become very strong, independent and influential today. In today’s era, there have been many mediums of journalism too; such as – newspapers, magazines, radio, Doordarshan, web-journalism, and social media, etc.
With the changing times, the inter-relationships of markets and journalism have brought about extensive changes in the content and presentation style of journalism. The widespread use of journalistic access and freedom of expression is usually associated with social concerns and well-being, but now it is also being misused. Social networks such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter have become sources of news for people, but have no journalistic standards. The dissemination of misinformation or news has been greatly enhanced by highly targeted algorithms used by these companies.
They are likely to bombard users with information that serves to reinforce what the algorithm thinks the searcher should know. As they familiarise themselves with the Internet, new online Indians are bound to fall prey to algorithms that use social network firms.
Apart from the communication revolution and the right to information, economic liberalisation has completely changed the face of journalism. The huge earning from advertisements has made journalism to a large extent commercial. Today, the media has become the target of maximum earning. The result of this commercial approach of media is that its focus has deviated from social concerns. Instead of issues-based journalism, infotainment remains in the media headlines today.
The widespread and widespread public access to the Internet has also led to its misuse. Internet users are misusing this useful tool to get out of private rage and to commit objectionable behavior. This is the reason why the debate of curbing these multifaceted means of media is also sparse. Thankfully, this debate is limited to suggestions and complaints. There is no way of implementing it. It is in interest of democracy that journalism should be allowed to remain independent and uninterrupted as far as possible and journalism’s interest is to use its freedom of expression for honest discharge of its obligations to society and social concerns.
Recently Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, while explaining his responsibility to the media, urged media personnel that they should follow the rules and principles of journalism and stop the spread of fake and false news. Also, the news should be communicated to the people in the correct, accurate, and simple language. He said that we are moving towards change and reforms at this time. Accurate information and procedures are necessary to take these reforms forward. The media should focus on the factors that promote development over time and bring about change for betterment of society, and should pay attention to such news.
Venkaiah Naidu underlined the need for effective guidelines and legislation to streamline a revenue-sharing model between tech-based social media giants and traditional media struggling to generate revenue. Although traditional print media has sincerely gone online and is adopting technological disruption, it is struggling to come up with a viable revenue model. The Vice President said that some countries are taking measures to ensure revenue sharing by social media giants for print media. Naidu stressed that we also need to seriously consider this problem and agree with effective guidelines and laws, so that print media can get its share from the large revenue of technology giants.
Does fake news affect the choice of citizens of the country? Mainly media coverage has to strike a balanced and neutral approach. But fake news is untrue information which is presented as news. Its purpose is often to damage reputation of an individual or institution or just to earn money through advertising revenue. Fake news has increased in digital media or social media, except for little print. In India, the spread of fake news is mostly about political and religious matters. However, misinformation related to the COVID-19 epidemic was also widely circulated. Fake news spread through social media has become a serious problem in the country. However, internet shutdowns are often used by the Government to prevent social media rumors from spreading. The Government is also planning to take more public-education initiatives to make the public more aware of fake news. Fact-checking has encouraged the creation of fact-checking websites in India to counter fake news. But this fourth pillar of society should also understand that journalism becomes meaningful only by connecting with social concerns and public interest. Sustainable journalism is the responsibility of taking social concerns to the threshold of the system and taking public welfare policies and schemes to the bottom of society.
Journalism is the fourth found (pillar) of democracy. Any democracy is strong only when journalism continues to play a meaningful role in social concerns. The purpose of meaningful journalism is should be that it should play the role of an important link between administration and society. If the first news of any media institution does not bring a smile to the face of the people, then what kind of journalism is that? Journalism running behind the news also needs red light for a short time, so that it can move forward peacefully and show people the right path.
Dr. Satyavan Saurabh

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