CHANDIGARH, July 12:Various speakers at the seminar on ‘Public perception of the Media’ organised by the Chandigarh Press Club here today stressed the need for a proactive and pro-people role from journalists of all hues. Near unanimity prevailed that media must place the issues related to common citizens on a priority.
In this unique exercise, the Press Club threw open its doors for people from all walks of life express their opinion. The event was organised as part of the celebrations of the 28th Founders’ Day, which falls on July 15. Participants while appreciating the role of media in providing valuable information, appreciated the unprecedented effort at introspection initiated by the club.
While concerns were expressed over commercialisation of media and trivialisation of the news content, participants argued that the advent of market economy, cut throat competition and callous approach by managements of a few media houses had contributed towards the erosion of journalistic ethics, which was the root of various ills that had tarnished the image and credibility of the profession. "Commodification" of women and lack of focus on issues related to juvenile justice contributed in the lowering of the credibility of the media at large.
The question whether the Press was "really and completely" free, gains more currency with the advent of the neo-media and the concept of "Citizen’s Journalism". Such trends in the era of the Internet, was bound to break the monopoly of the traditional media. When more information would be available with the people, Media professionals would be required to exercise restraint and discontinue the trend of "trial by the media" which is practiced in some sections.
Many speakers expressed serious reservations about policies of some media organisations, which did not adequately pay their journalists, especially those posted in the field. This had led to growth in corrupt practices causing harassment of the public. Some other speakers were of the view that media was falling prey to a tendency of "over emphasising" some issues to extent that it discouraged expression of dissent or the alternate opinion.
The need was felt to break stereotypes, highlight the abdication of responsibility by the people’s representatives and bureaucracy as well as bring to the fore the sufferings of the people.
Among those who participated were Mr. Nirmal Dutt, Dr. Manjit Singh, Prof. D. N. Johar, Arshad Khan, Maj Gen (Retd) Rajendera Nath, Mohinder Singh Virk, Advocate Roop Singh, Surinder Gill, Dr. Pam Rajput, Anita Shabdeesh, Balbir Singh Rajewal, Jathedar Angrej Singh, Prof Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon, Vijay Vivek, Dr. Yashpal, Dr. Raghbir Sirjana, Dr. Manmohan Kaur, Harkrishan Mehta, Prof. Navjit Johal, Gurnam Singh Sidhu, Madhav Kaushal, Kanha Singh, Mr. Devi Dayal, Ms Hardeep Kaur Balluana and Prof. F.C. Badhwar.