ShankerSinh Vaghela: Media is the fourth pillar of democracy and plays an important role in society. However, the ruling dispensations at the Centre and the state have developed a habit of blaming the media whenever journalists expose the ground realities that certainly do not create a rosy picture for the government.
The media is often termed as “sold out” and “paid” for daring to show things that prove detrimental to the image of the government or the people in power. The reality is that all media houses and journalists have not sold their soul and it is because of the select few that the entire media fraternity has to face criticism. In the recent past, it has been witnessed that some media houses and journalists have aligned their views with the views expressed by the BJP—a party that can hardly digest any criticism.
If you praise the BJP and its policies, then it is alright. But, the moment the media criticises it for governance failures by exposing the truth, it will be immediately termed as “useless”. This tradition is continuing in the BJP for a long time and has made the party leaders arrogant. If any journalist dares to expose the ground realities and the failures of the saffron party, the latter will go to any extent to harass the journalist, and at times, they are charged with sedition and put behind bars.
The BJP has been trying to uproot the fourth pillar of democracy and unfortunately, several media professionals siding with the BJP are to be blamed for it. Had the media stuck to its neutral and unbiased work, the country would not be consuming fake and wrong news. It is imperative that the media must put aside its bias of caste, creed, religion, and party to focus the light on nothing but the truth.
Given the current economic scenario, it should not come as a surprise that many media houses that relied on flattery of those in power to get their businesses running may find themselves at the short end of the stick. These are the media houses that have heaped praises on the wrong decisions of the government and made heroes and zeroes out of many people. In the coming days, it remains to be seen how the government plans to manage these people.
It is also because of such people that the entire fraternity has got the ‘sold out’ tag. The media needs to introspect and get back to ensuring that it brings the problems of the people to the fore and questions those in power.
(The writer is a former chief minister of Gujarat and is in active politcs for the last 50 years. The views and opinions expressed in this article are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Gujarat Exclusive.)