You are here: Home // Blog // Don’t shoot the messenger

Don’t shoot the messenger

Below posting is from Mapreet Badal’s Blog.

I always look forward to my meetings with Mr Kanwar Sandhu. The perspicacity and intellect of this venerable and distinguished journalist never fails to impress me. But I was deeply perturbed when I met him a few days ago. He told me that how the broadcast of the news channel he was heading was being stalled by the cable mafia simply because the channel had dared to air certain news that powers that be found inappropriate or against their interests. This in fact, isn’t the first time that such a thing has happened. I have been hearing instances of ‘unfavourable news’ being blocked out, media organisations being persecuted for daring to report things against the ruling dispensation. The unfortunate aspect is that the malaise isn’t restricted to a particular state or a political party. It is a pan India problem now, a fact borne by the recent survey of Reporters Sans Frontiers, which puts India at a dismal 122 on its famous World Press Freedom Index. It is a disgraceful paradox that in a country which takes pride in being the largest democracy in the world, the fourth estate is being treated so shabbily by the governments. The survey clearly mentions that in India the rich and powerful can intimidate journalists with ease.

For India, this is tantamount to utter hypocrisy. We make no qualms in teaching Chinese how to treat its Nobel Prize Winning peace activists. We castigated Myanmar when it restricted access of international media to Aung Sang Su Kyi and waste no time in preaching the Mid East countries the values of an open press. But our own record is miserable. I am really disturbed with the impunity with which media is being stifled in Punjab in particular. An unhealthy trend has emerged wherein the ruling government of the day patronises a particular media organisation (which is owned by it and or its well wishers) and then bullies the others to toe its line. This is akin to what was happening in Germany under Nazis. As the Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda in the Third Reich, Joseph Goebbels, maintained absolute control over all publications and broadcasts. Criminal penalties were set in place for hearing non German radio stations or subscribing to non German newspapers or periodicals.

Eminent thinker and prolific writer, Naom Chomsky had once written that propaganda is to democracy, what violence is to totalitarianism. I feel that attempts by the powerful to ‘tame’ the media can only be to the detriment of India. Vibrant democracy presupposes a well informed citizenry. If the government chooses to determine what people know, then it is undermining the very principles of the democracy. It is only when the citizens have the information that they can make the right choices. Some of our politicians need to accept the fact, that media is not their personal public relations office. It is not media’s job to be charitable to them. Media’s job is show things as they exist- the good, the bad and the ugly. Media is the most important sentinel of a democracy. A true democracy listens to the warnings of the sentinel and goes about reforming itself. If we silence our sentinel, there will be no one left to tell us of our warts. The fact, that the ruling British government obfuscated information pertaining to the threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) in Iraq, ensured that British citizenry ended up supporting a war it did not believe in. Media in Italy, is often despised and rarely trusted because most of the media organisation are owned by President Berlusconi.

Through his two legendary books 1984 and Animal Farm, George Orwell, brilliantly portrayed the pitiable state of a society where media is controlled. Though the subject of Orwell’s description was Stalinist Soviet there were ample warnings that liberal societies could also descend into such repressive regimes if its governments show intolerance towards ideas that they consider undesirable. A mature polity welcomes dissent. It is unfortunate that in India, some governments today want media to sing paeans for them. While I can understand that today’s politicians may not have the broadmindedness of our first Prime Minister (who was so wary of his cult following and media worshipping that he once wrote an anonymous letter to parliamentarians wherein he exhorted them to be wary of ‘this man called Nehru’) they can at least ensure that they do not stop media from doing its job in a proper manner. Media is the most important purveyor of information in any society. All our measures to bring in more transparency in government functioning through measures such as RTI would be futile if media is silenced. Our policy makers may do well to remember what Thomas Jefferson, the author of US Declaration of Independence, said, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

*

56 ResponsesDon’t shoot the messengerto ""

  1. Thanks for a marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed reading it, you’re a great author.

    I will always bookmark your blog and will eventually come back sometime soon. I
    want to encourage you to definitely continue
    your great posts, have a nice weekend!

  2. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long
    as I provide credit and sources back to your blog? My blog site is in the very same area of
    interest as yours and my users would definitely benefit from some of the information you present here.
    Please let me know if this ok with you. Cheers!

  3. This is a good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Short but very accurate info… Appreciate your sharing this one.
    A must read post!

  4. minecraft says:

    For the reason that the admin of this website is working, no doubt very rapidly it
    will be famous, due to its feature contents.

  5. minecraft says:

    Have you ever thought about creating an e-book or guest authoring
    on other websites? I have a blog centered on the same topics you discuss and would
    really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my
    visitors would value your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel
    free to send me an e mail.

  6. I am regular reader, how are you everybody? This post
    posted at this web page is really nice.

  7. tinyurl.com says:

    It’s not my first time to go to see this web site, i am browsing this web site dailly
    and take good facts from here every day.

  8. minecraft says:

    Hi there colleagues, fastidious piece of writing
    and pleasant arguments commented at this place, I am really enjoying by
    these.

  9. minecraft says:

    My relatives all the time say that I am killing my time here at net, however I know I am getting familiarity everyday by reading thes pleasant posts.

  10. minecraft says:

    Just wish to say your article is as astonishing.
    The clearness for your submit is simply cool and i could assume you’re knowledgeable in this
    subject. Fine together with your permission allow me to grab your
    feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks
    one million and please continue the rewarding work.

  11. It is truly a nice and useful piece of information. I am happy that you simply shared this helpful info with us.
    Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Hmm is anyone else having problems with the images on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  13. If you want to take much from this piece of writing then you have to apply such methods to your
    won webpage.

  14. There’s certainly a great deal to know about this subject.
    I like all the points you’ve made.

  15. Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m inspired!
    Extremely useful info particularly the final section 🙂 I handle such info a lot.
    I used to be seeking this particular info for a long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

  16. Hmm it looks like your site ate my first comment (it
    was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say,
    I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring
    blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing.

    Do you have any recommendations for first-time blog writers?
    I’d really appreciate it.

  17. I’ve been surfing on-line more than three hours these days, but I by no means discovered any attention-grabbing article like yours.
    It is pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all website owners and bloggers made excellent
    content as you probably did, the internet can be a lot more helpful than ever before.

  18. Its such as you learn my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, such as you wrote the e book in it or
    something. I believe that you just could do with a few
    % to drive the message house a little bit,
    however instead of that, this is wonderful blog.
    A great read. I’ll definitely be back.

  19. My brother recommended I might like this website. He was entirely right.
    This post actually made my day. You cann’t imagine simply how much time
    I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  20. You could certainly see your enthusiasm in the work you write.
    The sector hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they
    believe. At all times go after your heart.

  21. I like it when folks get together and share views.
    Great website, keep it up!

  22. I needed to thank you for this good read!! I absolutely loved every little
    bit of it. I’ve got you book marked to look at new stuff you
    post…

  23. What’s up, for all time i used to check webpage posts here in the early hours in the
    dawn, as i like to gain knowledge of more and more.

  24. Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account
    it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you!
    However, how can we communicate?

  25. I am really thankful to the owner of this web page who has shared this wonderful article
    at at this place.

  26. Very soon this website will be famous amid all blogging visitors, due to it’s pleasant articles or reviews

  27. It is appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it’s
    time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you some interesting things or
    suggestions. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article.
    I want to read even more things about it!

  28. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was
    curious what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% positive.
    Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Cheers

  29. Keep on working, great job!

  30. you are truly a good webmaster. The website loading
    pace is amazing. It sort of feels that you are doing any unique trick.
    Also, The contents are masterwork. you’ve done a wonderful
    job on this topic!

  31. Every weekend i used to pay a visit this web site,
    for the reason that i want enjoyment, since this this web
    page conations genuinely fastidious funny data too.

  32. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about blog. Regards

  33. Hello there! This article could not be written much better!
    Looking at this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He constantly kept preaching about this. I am going to forward this post to
    him. Fairly certain he’ll have a very good read. Thanks for sharing!

  34. This post presents clear idea for the new visitors of
    blogging, that actually how to do blogging and
    site-building.

  35. I always spent my half an hour to read this website’s posts daily along with a mug of coffee.

  36. Great blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my
    blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your theme.
    Many thanks

  37. Hello there! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with SEO?
    I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very
    good gains. If you know of any please share. Thanks!

  38. Superb, what a website it is! This webpage gives helpful facts to
    us, keep it up.

  39. I don’t even know the way I ended up here, but I believed this submit used to be great.

    I do not recognise who you might be but definitely you’re
    going to a well-known blogger in case you aren’t already.

    Cheers!

  40. What’s up, this weekend is fastidious in favor of me, since this moment
    i am reading this impressive informative post here at my home.

  41. If some one needs expert view concerning blogging after that i suggest him/her to pay a visit this website,
    Keep up the nice job.

  42. This excellent website really has all of the information I needed concerning this
    subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  43. minecraft says:

    This is my first time pay a visit at here and i am in fact pleassant to read all at one place.

  44. minecraft says:

    I do agree with all the ideas you have introduced on your post.
    They are very convincing and can certainly work.
    Still, the posts are too brief for starters. May just you please extend
    them a little from subsequent time? Thank you for the post.

  45. minecraft says:

    I really like what you guys are usually up too.
    Such clever work and reporting! Keep up the amazing works guys I’ve added you guys to
    blogroll.

  46. minecraft says:

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.
    I do not know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already ;
    ) Cheers!

  47. minecraft says:

    I all the time used to study article in news papers but
    now as I am a user of internet so from now I am using net for content, thanks
    to web.

  48. Rakesh Garg says:

    Respected Sir,
    SatSri Akal Ji…
    There is a great need of you in Punjab like Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi for welfare of people.I wish that you should make marty more strong and make more members.To make Punjab free From corruption and make a better place is not only one man’s work.This can only be done by joining people with us.
    Name-Rakesh Garg (medicine wale), City-Kotkapura , Dist.-Faridkot , Contact No.-9417105500

  49. Gurmeet Singh says:

    Sometime back I heard news about collation between PPP and Kejriwal’s AAP but nothing seen so for on the ground. I really wish that you go to Delhi to support AAP this time to play your part in historic political change as AAP gaining great momentum in Delhi Election, and get some expose for PPP on national level.

    https://www.facebook.com/AamAadmiParty

  50. Very good Manpreet Ji.

    Waht your view on issue such as- 1. Jan Lookpal implementation, 2. Right to Reject, 3. Right to Recall, 4. RTI law implementation in polity, and 5.RP Act.

  51. Amanpreet says:

    With all due respect .. I had always wanted a 3rd party in Punjab to give a sense of competition and hence, hopefully, accountability and responsibility among political parties. 🙂 But I am as ignorant of you as a person, as a well-wisher of our state as I am to other politicians .. what is that you want to promise (and later fulfill) to the people of Punjab .. and what policies do you think will help you do that? I’d like to hear reasons which should make me stand by you and not by anybody else ..

  52. Ramesh says:

    Agar tusi sach me shahidan de supne sakar karn chale ho tan ashi tuhade nal han.

  53. Jasbir pannu says:

    Manpreet ji bala bala u

  54. Bikram Cheema says:

    Rightly said Jagmohan, Punjab can only be freed from Black Britishers when the rulers have good people around. Not like the current congress and akali dal leadership who are surrounded by Gundas. Those should be sent to Jail, as most of them have already committed crimes.

    Now the onus is on Manpreet to avoid such leaders even though they come in his support, dont award them with tickets.

  55. Jagmohan Sidhu says:

    Dear Manpreet:
    You have good intentions, but, as they say, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. I met Jagbir Brar at a wedding reception about a month ago. He is a good man like you and his intentions are good. We all know you will try your best to surround yourself with good people. I hope PPP gets into a position where you can do what you want to do. It feels like Punjab is finally getting into good hands.
    All the best

    Jagmohan Sidhu
    New York

Copyright © 2009 SupportManpreetBadal.com. All rights reserved.