(Bihar Times): Free and fair journalism has been going on in Bihar––of course as elsewhere––for the last so many decades or say well over a century. Yet we never needed any Press Club or such concession from any government. Why is it that these guys suddenly realized the need for the Press Club? I know the obvious purpose of the Press Club. Throughout my two decades of journalism I always decried any such favour from any government––be it Nitish or Lalu in Bihar, Vajpayee or Manmohan in Delhi and Mulayam or Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh etc.
Sometimes back Mulayam tried to corrupt the journalists by offering them bungalows. Then Ram Vilas Paswan as Union communication minister in the Vajpayee government ‘gifted’ free phones to many of the friends in the media.
This politician-media nexus is extremely dangerous for any democracy. It is going on at much higher level too. Of late, the media barons––the 12 lesser mortals in the so-called Trust are just their employees––have started honouring the politicians with various awards, such as, the best chief minister, best politician, the most development-minded chief minister and what not.
With the help of the so-called surveys these media houses are generously giving awards to different politicians, when the truth is that they have absolutely nothing to do with the development; their eyes are just on more advertisement and bigger favour from the government.
These gentlemen should know that it is the people who decide who is the best or who is the worst. Those yearning for premises in the Press Club are just doing what their bosses are doing at the national and international level in much polished way. And those posted at the districts are simply satisfied by a very small official favour.
Incidentally, the whole drama of the Press Club came up just a couple of days before I wrote a hard-hitting piece on this portal on what is going on in the media in Bihar. A couple of months back I wrote another piece on the shrinking influence of the mainstream media for some other magazine. When I wrote these pieces I thought I am a bit harsh towards the journalistic fraternity. Now I am realizing that my view is getting vindicate. That is why thehoot.org, a reputed portal, gave prominence to my view, though I was not even aware of it.
These gentlemen in the Trust––there is no lady in it––must understand that they are fooling themselves and none else. Being a journalist does not mean that they are above everything. Do not become too big for your boots, just because some decorated politicians know you by your name.
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I would like to strees that healthy journalism is as much about neutral reportrage as it is about reporting (or suggesting) positive developments in and around society. You have to be free of your personal likings and dislikings. Its a general feeling both inside and outside Bihar that good things are happening. People (both rural and urban) testify this in general. Nothing wrong in reporting that. Writing about (or awarding) a positive developmment is as much necessary (to encourage people to bring in more such changes) as it is to be critical of negative or selfish developments.
Of late, I have been going through quite a few write-ups of Mr. Saroor Ahmed. He seemed quite critical of the establishments, both media and the government. But he fails to suggest any thing better. Mere cynicism is not going to benefit Bihar or its people. I am yet to see any any positive article from Mr. Saroor. This is as good (or bad) as his biased journalist brethren ( the so called pro-establishment cronies).
It does not take rocket science to know why previous establishment went for 15 years. It was not due to Critical media as mentioned by the writer. In fact media was decimated like all other institution and people did not care about what they are writing. They just cared about what their Raja is saying! And it took a while for our people to realize where they are heading in this 21st century.
Bihar still remains a society divided among caste and communal lines. This is at heart of its backwardness. This is also reflected in media in Bihar. Unless this is curbed no amount of goodwill (or good work) can change Bihar. Mr. Saroor should at least appreciate that people in Bihar are now talking about corruption as a menace. Otherwise in previous establishments they were reconciled to its institutionalization and even accepted it as their fate.
Its a refreshing change that Bihar is in news now a days not for its 'prodigious' sons like Sahabuddins, Suraj Bhans, Taslimuddins, Sunil Pandey, Pappu Yadavs and so on. And perhaps among very few ministry in the country free of any criminal charges. This ministry may not be 100% free of corrution, but then look at our electroal system. Compare this with our perennial brother UP, where Atique Ahmeds and Shekhar Tiwaris still ruling the roost. Even centre this time is not free of criminals.
In this light, Why is Mr. Saroor so critical about someone given Best Politician or Best CM award? And if he is rightly so why he is not bringing in other facts to the fore?
Alok Kumar Singh