In democratic India, all people irrespective of their social status are equal before the law of the land. Any person is free to exercise his or her rights when he or she feels that he or she is deprived of what he or she were supposed to enjoy. It may be in the form of democratic protest, criticisms through various channels of mass media or by organising mass campaign that the people in the society can be made understand that, rights of a common person is deprived. Once people are convinced, it is natural that the people join hands to the fellow citizen whose rights has been deprived, not because for individual cause but because justice to the single fellow will also mean justice for all people in the society.
Mass media in today’s world is playing tremendous role in bringing up issues which they think is for the cause of the common people. India is not lagging behind; there have been many cases that common people who were victims of atrocities were delivered justice. Many God men had been put behind bars, business tycoon are declared wanted and many politicians were not spared for the wrongs they had committed which affect the livelihood of the common people by the people in media risking their lives.
Paid news, reporting of cooked stories and yellow journalism are some of the familiar words coined to defame the people in mass media by those who had been exposed for their wrongs. Saying so it does not meant that some people in the profession are all pure and sincere in rendering their duty.
The mass media in this little state Manipur too has been playing its role effectively. Without bothering the kind of returns they enjoyed as payment to their service, people in this profession have been taking all risk in exposing what is not right when it comes for the cause of common people. Eight people in the field had lost their lives some remain as disabled in unfortunate accidents and incidents when they were on duty. Inappropriate salary in returns to their service had also forced many to quit the profession. Yet there is no shortage of manpower in this field.
Saying so, it would be wrong to advocate a free speech of any individual or freedom of press without limit as legitimate. In democratic India a breached of privilege for some individuals or groups by any mass media can be challenged, but taking the law in hand to stand up or protest against any trespassing to individuals or groups is rather a sign of lawlessness. Government’s silence on such matter will only be recorded as ‘weak’ or ‘inefficient’, by the future generation.
On one hand, when lawyers, advocates protest on the street for failure of law and order, and when media goes protest for some peoples’ threat to sue them through proper channel, it showed the timidity character of the group of people in the profession which should be the most courageous people.
Steps like boycott of those voices against media which they felt not correct would be a more unjustified decision. Space for criticism to media should also be provided if someone felt that their image have been maligned by any writings or comment of a media house.
A hurriedly managed staged demonstration by any groups including political parties or media groups or anybody driven by emotion and sentiments is not a signed of civilize society.
William Gurumayum, Sub-Editor of Imphal Times is a resident of Sagolband Salam Leikai. He has been with Imphal Times since beginning. He also looks after the website and application of Imphal Times. An avid adventure lover, writes mostly travelogue.