ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Liberating the Press

Liberating the Press Nireekshak HOW many times have we not heard all this before? The Press is 'divorced from the people'; the Press is an urban monster; it is a 'jute press', etc, etc. While repeating all these familiar charges the other day, the new Minister of State for Information, Nandini Satpathy, added one or two highly 'professional' observations of her own. Journalism was languishing under outmoded concepts and 'the tyranny of old journalistic techniques', she said. One of the concepts that needed to be 'liberated' was the concept of objectivity which 'elevated the influence of fools to that of wise men, the ignorant to the level of the learned, the evil to the level of the good'. And how does one go about it? "Journalism", the Minister urged, "must be freed from the so-called scoops, from deadlines and from startling narrative forms." Well, for anyone so obviously skating on very thin ice, that is a very tall order indeed to give. Whatever the official view of the nature of good and evil may be, and however bureaucracy may determine who may be a fool or who a wise man (the Minister's speech-writer has provided no clue to official thinking), it is probably best to leave fools and wise men to their own various devices. About journalistic techniques, no newspaperman with a nose for news can, or should, be persuaded against trying to be first with the news

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