An introspective and inspirational session
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, July 14
A seminar on “Challenges before the media in the post Independence era” held today at the Press Club turned into an introspective and inspirational session for the journalists who attended the gathering.
The two stalwarts, Mr H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune group of newspapers and Mr Prabash Joshi, Editorial Advisor of Jansatta, who were the guests of honour and presided over the function, provided witty, worrying, thought-provoking and moving insights into the values and development of the social context of the media in the country today.
Professor N.S. Johal, former chairman of the Department of Journalism, Punjabi University, Patiala, who spoke about the big challenges before the media which were, “To make it accessible to common people, to involve them in ongoing dialogues and to maintain a balance between professional ethics and market forces”.
The paper was followed by Professor S.S. Dosanjh, now retired, who implored journalists to be different, “Because teachers and journalists are the watchdogs to society”.
The talk of both Mr Dua and Mr Joshi on the role of the media was stirring and roused tremendous response from the journalists present.
“To educate people is the primary necessity of the newspapers. Most political leaders who led the struggle for Independence were editors of newspapers because it was necessary to awaken the consciousness of people,” reiterated Mr Joshi, while highlighted the role of newspapers in India’s freedom movement. “No other free press of any other democracy has played as vital a role in shaping public opinion as the Indian press.”
According to Mr Joshi, “Globalisation is responsible for the changing context of news coverage”.
“The market dictates the society we live in. The value and worth of a newspaper is now judged by its market capitalisation and not how it reaches the masses.”
Mr Dua extolled the growth of the press as a product of renaissance of India, of the freedom movement and the role of prominent freedom fighters in newspapers but lamented the fact that Parliament, judiciary and administration were not playing their role in defending the common man.
“At a time like this, the press is expected to lead by example because people believe in the Indian press and that is their greatest challenge. The freedom of the press means the freedom of people to express. The right to know, state and fight is the true meaning of the media.”
He was unhappy with the media reporting only on Shining Urban India. This has resulted in neglect of coverage of rural regions. “Is the Indian press fighting superstitions? No, it is not. How many papers are fighting against caste, misuse of religion in politics and the vast unemployment in the country?”
He bemoaned the fact that the Indian press had forgotten its role and asked if the media was using the freedom for a wider social benefit?
Mr Dua spoke of the media’s need to have a soul. “Not just colour, new designs or glamorous stories but a vital essence in service of the society for which it was created.”
Earlier, the Club president Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu and secretary general, Mr Balwant Takshak, welcomed the guests and spoke of the club’s 25-year-old history.