The War of Words

Reshmi Naveen Gopal
Thursday, September 7, 2017

Another journalist is brutally killed. Gauri Lankesh, the editor of Lankesh Patrike is shot dead recently at her residence in Bangaloru, India. In the midst of all the protest and condemnation it is time to retrospect the profession and the protection of journalists around the world.

Gauri Lankesh is the not the only journalist who has lost life fighting against establishment of the state, the social, political and human rights issues. According to the committee to protect journalists, 24 journalists have been killed in the first few months of 2017. United Nation Organisation(UNO) has recorded unnatural deaths of 700 journalists between 2004 and 2014. They are killed in ‘’ the exercise of their profession’’, condemned UNESCO. Some of these murders are investigated, but most of the perpetuators are not arrested.

Aftab Ahmed, a Bangladeshi photojournalist was strangulated to death at house in December 2013, at Dhaka. Luke Daniel Somers, a British- born American photojournalist who was held hostage by a militant group was killed in 2014. Many journalists are killed at the knock and corner of the planet, taking up dangerous assignments.

Killing, insulting, threatening and harassment of journalists are not anew. Sai Reddy, a reporter in Deshbandhu, a Hindi newspaper was stabbed to death by Maoists at Chhattisgarh, India in December 2013. The case is not yet solved by the police. Jagendra Singh, a freelance journalist was allegedly killed by the cops who barged into his house in June 2015, at Utter Pradesh. He was set on fire as he published investigative reports on a political leader in social media.

There are many, who can be well called as martyrs of democracy. Most of these fearless activists are seen to wear their heart on the sleeve. They work against confronting power in pursuit of truth. The criminals take the freedom of speech and expression at stake while killing them.

But, I have always wondered why the slain personally intended to do such news stories that can kill themselves even when none of them were worth dying for. The reality is that they are murdered not only in war torn areas, but also in their own houses. It is important that the media persons take precaution in saving their lives. It is high time we demand protection for all progressive thinkers.

Ethics in journalism

At this juncture while discussing on the freedom of speech and expression and freedom of press it is important to put an insight on the code of ethics and reasonable restrictions linked to journalism, which some of the journalists even forget. It is a value added profession.

Journalism is a noble profession. It is the fourth estate in a democratic set up of government. ‘’..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.’’, said Thomas Jefferson. In the era of planted news stories, alternated truth, fake stories, especially in the outgrowth of social media such outspoken and brave journalists are a boon to the society.

Each word published should be tailor made, as they can bring in appeasement and as well as it can kill the civic harmony. It can be a treat to the sovereignty and integrity of the country, security of the nation, friendly relation with foreign nations, public order and decency or morality. It can incite an offence. It can defame. It can be contempt of court. It is the all about doing a job associated with a responsibility to the public.

Paid news is another unethical practise. Recently, election commission of India has disqualified, Narottam Mishra, a minister in Madhya Pradesh, three years for paying the news story to be published. A group of overzealous journalists are to be blamed for putting fourth estate on sale. The paid news can be defined as an unfair or camouflaged. It can be an advertising too. A propaganda masquerading an individual against the law of the country is not fair.

Anything published on the media should be factual. Before publishing, the veracity should be clarified. The most common practise seen in the media today is biased. They are biased to political parties, religions or individuals. Prejudiced reporting can harm the welfare of the nation and they hurt the feelings of the people. Mass media often breach of right to privacy. Anyway, recently, the supreme court of India has made it a fundamental right. It is also vital to respect the victims of molestation and abstain from revealing their identity.

Journalists are crusaders of communal harmony and peace. Some of the journals are seen publishing news stories that amounts to sedition. Sedition is any action — whether by words, signs or visible representation — which brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government. Surender Dhiman Insan, journalist of Sach Kahoon newspaper, a Dera Sacha Sauda mouthpiece, who was booked under sedition charges surrendered in Panchkula.

Even when some journalists make a parody of the profession, there are many who takes it for passion and they write each word with high spirits. They find it their duty to fight with their pen against all the atrocities in the society. These journalists have been working like a volcano spitting fire, putting themselves in jeopardy, and bringing all the harsh realities in limelight. When a journalist loses her or his life for the welfare of the world umpteen number of journalists who intend to fight for a noble cause take birth.

Reshmi Naveen Gopal is a freelance writer. She is a post graduate in Communication and Journalism. She has worked with main stream print media and online journals. She has been a faculty in communication and journalism at a couple of colleges.
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Express your comment on this article

Abdur Rahman
Posted on Tuesday, October 3, 2017

There is absolutely no problem in disagreeing with anyone’s personal views. Everyone is entitled to their views. A democratic society can’t sustain without respecting the right to freedom of expression. It also includes the right to disagree. But, that disagreement must never lead to violence. The case of Gauri Lankesh is the case of killing ethos of free and democratic society. Her assassination is a shame for all of us, if the reason turned out to be ideological.Right wings actives are celebrated her Murder.

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