Journalism is the activity of accumulating, assessing, preparing news and information, and presenting it to the masses through various means of transmission. A good journalist has an inquisitive and investigative mind who is devoted to presenting unbiased news. The purpose of good journalism is to cater to independent, accurate, reliable, wide-ranging, and relevant information. The job of a journalist seems difficult and challenging to say the least. Keeping all this in mind, my dream of becoming a journalist seemed far-stretched until I realised that the definition of journalism has changed. This change in India has been revolutionised by Arnab Goswami. He has transcended good journalism by altering its meaning.
Almost every citizen is familiar with Arnab Goswami. He is the most ‘distinguished’ Indian journalist and television news anchor, who is the editor and majority owner of the news channel, Republic TV. Journalism now has been transformed into a reality soap opera that turns important news and information into mere entertainment at the expense of ethical values. Goswami is the director as well as the lead actor of the reality soap version of journalism occupying the central stage.
What I have learned from ‘entertainment news’ and its ‘broadcaster’ is that journalism is not about giving utmost importance to facts, but to yourself, and your personal opinion. I used to believe that news and facts that are spread through print and electronic media must be neutral, that people are allowed to have their own opinions that are not influenced or pressured by anybody. I was certainly proved wrong by none other than Arnab Goswami.
While watching his debates every night, I realised that, apparently, to become one of the most popular journalists, it’s crucial to promote the ruling party and force your perspective on people. The government has adopted the policy of ‘My way or the highway’. Ensuring its widespread applicability are journalists like Arnab Goswami, who not only help the ruling party fulfil its propaganda but also spread misinformation for selfish reasons.
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Unfortunately, it is more easy and lucrative to be on the wrong side of the track. I have discovered it’s better to become a journalist who backs up the government, no matter what the circumstances are instead of criticising them and outing their evils. It has become a necessary condition to progress in this field and nobody prefers to stay stagnant in their profession. Only if you favour the government, you can prosper in a field like journalism. The government will only allow your peaceful existence if you favour them. Keeping human nature in mind, who would want to take the difficult right path when the wrong and easy path yields better results anyway?
My mind wanders, is everything I grew up believing false? Has the definition of right and wrong changed?
I wish I could be the righteous journalist that I have always wanted to be. However, I have realised it’s not safe to walk on the right path in my chosen field. To succeed and lead a good life, I need to bend my ways a little, I need to compromise my principles and disregard moralities. In a country where journalists are jailed for trying to report a case that might portray a negative image of the government or a ‘particular party’, I am scared to even try to pursue my dream. I am frightened of rape and death threats for spreading awareness so that people can make informed decisions for the betterment of our country, of our society.
I am writing this article with hope, with faith that people recognise the value of getting unbiased news, that journalists acknowledge the significance of their occupation and how it is the most important instrument of democracy so that students like me don’t have to negotiate with their dreams and aspirations.
Sakshi Mendiratta is a student of Maharaja Sawai Man Singh Vidyalaya, Jaipur. Views are personal.