Social Responsibility and Media

An attempt towards the rectification of the rot that has set in in the social and national life of the country is being made, with great enthusiasm, through judicial activism.

However judicial activism alone does not suffice for the rectification of this all-pervading malaise. What is urgently needed is the support of other social agencies/institutions. A very important role in this matter can be played by media activism, the topic under discussion today.

It is undoubtedly true that the position of media or journalism is not that of a mission but of a commercial industry.

The truth of the matter, however, is that our present journalism is used to presenting only half side of the picture. This is the root cause of all our problems. In view of the present circumstances media activism would amount to present a balanced reporting of the situation abandoning the present policy of selective reporting.

The principle of modern journalism can be understood from this saying:

When a dog bites a man it is no news, but when a man bites a dog, it is news.

One practical example of this method is provided by our present journalism which is constantly engaged in giving maximum coverage to any hot news created by an unruly section of Muslims. If the percentage of hot news forms only one percent the percentage of soft news is not less than 99 percent. But the reader of the newspapers are totally in the dark about this 99 percent of the picture. Whereas the one percent is being repeated again and again. Similarly if an extremist Hindu creates a hot news, this will find a place in all the newspapers the next day. Whereas even in the Hindu world there is 99 per cent soft news while hot news forms not more than one percent.

As a result of this one sided study unreal opinion is formed by both the communities regarding one another. Taking extreme forms this unreal opinion at times turns into communal riots. The selective reporting of this nature remains a permanent obstacle to the path of national integration.

For the rectification of this state of affairs a powerful journalists organization—as we already have formed for our rights—based on the principles of social responsibilities is required for the rectification of this state of affairs. Media Relations Forum is an organization, which aims at working for this goal.

Along with this I should like to put forward a proposal for bringing about an atmosphere of support and cooperation between the newspapers and social workers. Whenever a rumour spreads or a group indulges in any activity, which may lead to disrupting peace, social workers should immediately engage themselves in a thorough investigation of the matter and then through the full support of the newspapers the actual version is published in the newspapers. This is the only way to maintain peace and harmony in society.