WITH SANER SECTIONS of society already sorely miffed with the mainstream media, particularly news television, the latest onslaught by Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami against fellow editor and media entrepreneur Shekhar Gupta and his venture The Print, reported
by Punjab Today
, has elicited strong reactions from within the media world as well as the academia.
A number of readers wrote to and many called Punjab Today offices to express their frustration with the antics of certain journalists on television. Interestingly, a significant number of readers felt miffed with the fact that Punjab Today considered Goswami even a journalist.
Prof Chaman Lal, a well known academician and public intellectual who has taught at JNU, Delhi and other universities, was not amused and minced no words. "I don't think Republic TV to be a media platform and a person screaming on screen to be a journalist at all; he could be anything but a journalist,” he wrote to Punjab Today
, adding that while he had read about the froth-from-the-mouth fracas in Punjab Today
, he never watches these screaming slugfests on news television.
Veteran journalist Gobind Thukral, known for his intellectual heft and a blemish-free long career with The Tribune and later helming different newspapers, said this "abusing journalism is the new norm of television news channels.”
"Big money is playing dirty role in the field of journalism. We are not providing hard facts and people are not being informed independently. What Arnab has done amounts to merely abusing (someone). He has not put across any hard facts,” Thukral said, commenting on the Punjab Today story.
Senior journalist Vipin Pubby, who retired as Resident Editor of The Indian Express’ Chandigarh edition and now writes for various online platforms and newspapers, said it "an irony (that) those who exposed the Augusta scam and relentlessly followed the story are being targeted while those who did not write at all or never followed the story are getting a clean chit!”
Incidentally, Vipin Pubby is father of journalist Manu Pubby, who, alongwith Shekhar Gupta, drove the coverage of the AgustaWestland chopper deal scam. (In case readers wonder about Pubby Sr’s possible bias, here’s Punjab Today’s own stance: We strongly endorse Vipin Pubby’s view and stand by the same. — Editor.)
"Arnab, as we all know, is a blot on the fair name of media,” Pubby added. The fact is that the roll call of people in the profession who are a blot on the fair name of media, is now too long.
"Nowadays, media is losing credibility and the news television channels have been mushrooming due to rich people's lust for power and influence,” Thukral added. On being asked to comment about the facts in Arnab Goswami’s fulminations against Shekhar Gupta, who Republic TV did not name but left no one in doubt, Thukral said, "I have worked with Shekhar Gupta. He was always high flying but then Arnab has not presented any damning facts about his role.”
Dr Pramod Kumar, Director, Institute of Development and Communication and a commentator and frequent contributor to media platforms himself, said while notions of objective reporting is being given a flip now, partisan and subjective coverage was ruling the roost.
"Media houses are actually acting like campaign agencies now. Earlier too, media was providing a ‘service’ to the politicians, like conducting surveys and pre-announcing results in their favour but now even that veil is not required. Media is now openly taking sides and it seems that days of independent and unbiased journalism are gone,” he rued.
Harcharan Bains, a long time associate of former chief minister Prakash Singh Badal and someone who handles the media affairs of the Akali Dal, and particularly the Badals, commented on Punjab Today
’s reportage about the ugly war of editors on television.
"This media war of unprecedented bitterness has hit the image of the Indian media, already in a shambles,” he said, and then, interestingly, meted out an even-handed rap on the knuckles to those in the fight.
"I am no fan of Arnab. Whatever his other virtues, and many would question my use of this term at all here, the fact is that he is no journalist. But those at the receiving end of his arrogance and abuses needed to be called out, Arnab or no Arnab. That said, neither side is a paragon of journalistic virtues. And neither side practises journalism,” Bains said, before matching the tone of the parties embroiled in the fight, possibly to make himself heard: "Both sides! Quit the profession, dammit!”
Academician Dr Akshay Kumar of Panjab University said the media no longer mediates. "It arouses feelings of hostility. Anchors are the new age gladiators of the arena called TV studios. They do not just accuse each other of wrong conduct, they just demolish each other's reputation.”
Prof Kuldip Puri, an expert in pedagogy and education policies who teaches at Panjab University, Chandigarh, said having read about the Arnab-Shekhar spat in Punjab Today
, he felt "dismayed at the crude display of power and arrogance.”
"It is a bit hard for us to not admit our reservations about the non-partisan credentials of both the renowned editors. The (Punjab Today
substantiates the fact that there is a general contempt for professional ethics,” he said, adding, "However, hope lies with few glorious exceptions!”
But largely, Shekhar Gupta seemed to have his fans, even among those who bring critical faculties to bear on any situation. Dr Akshay Kumar clearly had a soft corner for him: "Shekhar Gupta has all along tried to maintain a degree of critical neutrality, but it does not sell. One has to outshout the other. Being vocal now means just being vociferous.”
Well, that’s one area where it is difficult to beat Arnab, or any Arnab clone!
Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.
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