Perseverant Progress Amidst Media Malaise
Uday India has turned 1. In this one-year odyssey, Uday India has carved a niche for itself in journalistic fraternity as well as among readers by bringing out several exposes, out-of-the-box news, etc. They include “Looting Common-Wealth”, “Is the CBI being misused”, “Woes of Common Man”, “Hindu Slavery”, “Omar’s Kashmir”, “Transcending Hinduism”, and many more. I am gladdened to inform you that these stories evoked overwhelmingly tremendous response, as they passed the muster. No wonder, the readership of Uday India during this short span has crossed one lakh mark—including both print and website readers. This fact is substantiated by your messages pouring in thousands through letters, emails and SMSs, congratulating Uday India on completion of one year. Some of these messages have been published in the column “Mailbox”. In the contemporary ambience of dubious links among corporate giants, politicians and mediapersons, where only “money matters”, Uday India is unflinchingly treading the path of ethical and just journalism. When it is getting more and more difficult to identify the moral and not-so-moral or complete turpitude elements in the media, Uday India has adhered and shall adhere to the true moorings of journalistic ethos. It shall unwaveringly play the lead role in breaking the new grounds and initiating the debates on matters concerning the common man’s interests. Although one may indeed be disturbed to find corporate houses and politicians are exercising their nefarious influence over a section of media to bend the government in their favour, WikiLeaks and Radia taps come as a fresh wisp of air, which reinforce how deep the rot has crept into our political system. The “leaks and tapes” have brought into the public domain a significant treasure trove of classified or privately held information with the potential to affect the lives of millions of people. On the face of it, the documents leaked by WikiLeaks and the Radia tapes may appear unrelated but there is a strong link so far as the game plan of the corporates across the globe is concerned, which is to economically conquer the world by controlling governments.
But what an irony, in the case of WikiLeaks—a not-for-profit media organisation that says its goal is “to bring important news and information to the public”—its founder, Julian Assange, has found himself at the receiving end of police investigations and other more subtle forms of harassment. In India, journalists, who regularly sermonise against political corruption, and have become household names, have been exposed in the Radia tape controversy, hobnobbing with lobbyists of prominent business houses and doing their bidding! It has not been a secret about the unholy nexus between corporate giants, mediapersons and politicians. That policies are influenced by various interests and subjective decisions are made by the government has always been evident. What comes as a rude shock is the existence of a well-entrenched system that has perfected the art of enforcing subjective decisions. What got exposed is so unpleasant that several major newspapers and television channels that normally scramble to bring “breaking” and “exclusive” stories have chosen to look the other way. Their silence, though understandable, is unfortunate—even unforgivable. For, the tape recordings of Radia’s phone conversations have come to light against the backdrop of the recent CAG report on the allocation of 2G spectrum, which demonstrated how the rules were arbitrarily bent by the then Telecom Minister, A Raja, in order to favour a handful of private companies at government expense. Now these ‘high-flying’ mediapersons, involved in the Radia tape controversies, can no longer take the moral high ground while anchoring issues of national importance. In spite of this, it is to be noted that the well-meant suggestion that the media should keep a distance from both politicians and industrialists is too idealistic. For, the media, particularly the round-the-clock television news channels with fatly paid, loud anchors and reporters, cannot run on reports supplied by news agencies. The formula now-a-days seems to be ‘create news if you don’t find any’. Hence, the fourth estate, which was going all out in its crusade against corruption, should also do a lot of soul-searching. For, it is the common man who has been maimed by the matrix of the Indian state, in which corporate power has ensnared the media in its never-ending pursuit of greed. The voice of the voiceless, journalists should have the will to resist anything that has the potential to damage the democratic fabric of our country.
I conclude by saying that Uday India emphasises that the trust that people repose in the media must be handled with care and reverence, not abused or, equally important, be seen as being abused. The issues involved need to be addressed comprehensively and the ‘cleaning-wounds’ approach will have only a temporary effect. Hence, Uday India is resolutely committed to the cause of awakening and empowering the people of the country.