The credibility of the Press has suffered a serious erosion during the past few years. The TV and the Radio are known to sing the song of the government in power. People look to the Press not only for news but also for guidance. The tendency of the press to increasingly depend on the government and be under its obligations is fraught with the danger of losing its impartially and independence. The press in India is passing through a very critical phase. It is under tremendous pressure from the business community, the government and the journalists themselves. The journalists in our country have become a privileged class and have not cared to impose on themselves some kind of voluntary discipline or self-censorship. It is time journalists reassess their role and formulate some kind of voluntary ethical code. The politicization of the press is a cause for serious concern. Take the case of differences that arose between former President Zail Singh and Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of Rajiv Gandhi versus former Union Finance and Defence Minister V.P. Singh. The newspapers took sides. Some newspapers passed off comments making it news on front pages which was totally unethical. While news is sacred, comments should be free and given place in the editorial columns. As editor of a leading paper had to quit because he refused to succumb to political pressures to plant stories. Some journalists seem to have become activists. They act as advisers of the government with a desire to participate in the decision-making process. This has seriously undermined their objectivity. The role of a journalist is not that of a mediator, but that of a communicator. The government often says that the real threat to the freedom of the press comes from the industrialists ?the owners of the newspaper. This is not wholly true. In fact, where the government has conveniently hobnobbed with the proprietor and thus gained some hold on the newspaper, they saw no threat to the press. But where-they found the proprietor not toeing their line, they have raised the bogey of the editor?s independence under jeopardy from proprietors. Though newspapers today have become an industry, they should be fired with a missionary zeal to inform and correct the way ward trends both in the people and the Government.
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