Posted as blog on 6th Jan 2010Last night in Times now program News Hour Arnab Goswami anchored the show with three guest, all doyens in their own right: Madhu Trehan, Nalini Singh & Senior Supreme Court Advocate Harish Salve. Was interesting debate on whether Media has come of age or its just Media activitism or sensationalism of news item like Rahore in Ruchika Girhotra Molestation case, which shrugged off people from the slumber knowing that even after 19 years of lone fight by the family of Ruchika’s friend the culprit got away with only 6 months sentence and immediately got bail. This is one case but there have been several instances in the past too which have been brought forward by the media, many of them recently, leading to the conclusion, and actually all agreed, that media and especially televison has come of age now post the advent of private news channels. Gone are the days when we had to be fed whatever was there to consume from the government controlled channel, Doordarshan. It was as if pre privatization era of 1991 of Indian economy when the license raj was so strong that we had to wait for as basic thing as Bajaj Scooters or Landline telephones or Gas cylinders for months and years and see the present situation, these items mentioned above have all gone out of date! But media has its own limitations and the sooner it realises it would be better as now even media is not the holy cow as was rightly said yesterday! So media should also not take anyone for granted and whatever it feds to the common public may not be consumed and ultimately it will lose its credibility if its found out to be untrue and would soon be labeled as sensational. At most Media can raise the issue to the level that its taken seriously and the incidences of rape, molestation, corruption, crime, nexus between politician-Goons-Police, slip-up from our government departments whether in foreign policy or matters of public sanity or question of MPs and MLAs getting their salaries and perks and extra free air and train passes for their family without any debate and discussion in Parliament - these matters are brought to light immediately and thorough investigation, prosecution and trial now have started to be taken up seriously by govt. But the sad part is that its only the individual matters that it takes up which is affected positively (much of the population which has been facing the wrath are poor people and those living in villages which constitute 70% of our population of over one billion where still reach of media is very limited). And that also if the media does some serious investigative journalism (which it does in some cases, but in most of the cases its simply very mediocre in research and often comes up egg faced in many matters due to poor research and loud shouting in the name of breaking news) and provide or rather assist the process of investigation. It can do that much only and not more than this should be expected out of media because media does not have the resources or competency or power or is authorized to pass judgment. But it does have the trickle down effect on the mentality of the people and it is not without reason that cases have started coming up lately, especially relating to crime against women, which were hither to not reported earlier as there were not enough public to support a victim. May be such acts could at least instill confidence on our people and then only our democracy becomes stronger because without that the democracy is just MOBOCRACY. And in this regard the media must NOW UNDERSTAND THAT FOR IT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY IT HAS TO PRESENT ONLY CORRECT FACTS TO THE PEOPLE AFTER THROUGH STUDY OTHERWISE THERE IS THE DANGER THAT THE GENERALISED STATEMENT MADE THAT POLITICIANS, IAS, POLICE, (AND EVEN SOMETIMES JUDGES) ARE CORRUPT, VERY SOON THE NAME OF MEDIA WILL BE ADDED TO THE LIST. One more important fact has to be remembered , Say, like in present Ruchika case if you take back the clock to 19 years and take up this as a case study and investigate each and every people involved in this matter right from the ministers, Chief Ministers, politicians, Babus and Police officers, to principals, to doctors, to policemen to teachers and subject them to rigorous investigation and bring forward the fault of each and every person who aided in subverting justice and they should be punished so that at least now even the smallest of the person in the entire cycle will have fear in doing any illegal job and that they may be hauled up at any stage of their career ( We should remember that currently Finance ministry is going through the files of each and every elected representatives and verifying whether income declarations thy have filed at the time of filing their nominations are correct or not!) then only it can be said safely that justice has been done and we have got result. Otherwise at best we are just bringing up the matter and in the heat of the moment, under pressure the govt. registers FIR, or orders for CBI inquiry or makes fresh case but ultimately the matter goes through the grind of the SYSTEM and we are back to square one when final justice is delivered. The Judges ultimately will give judgment only on the basis of the facts, evidences, witnesses and merits of the case and for that the whole process of investigation & prosecution has to be done competently. Perhaps constitution of Fast Courts or Appointment of new judges could be the supplementing factor. And, most of all, if the people are not awake and take conscious decision when they go to polls and choose good set of leaders then only it will make the difference. The awakening process should be aided by media. If we elect bad/corrupt/criminal people and send them to Law Making Bodies Parliament and State Legislature, how can we expect justice? We will get Bad Judges, Bad prosecution, Bad Lawyers, Bad IAS officers, Bad Police Officers and Investigating Officers, Bad Police- so on and so forth. This is one fact. The other fact is also true that once the media drops guard then again the system tends to let Manu Sharmas of the world off to parole and partying. But still role of media is commendable.The another subject was whether Judiciary should be touched for criticism or not. Though I am not an expert on this subject but still some observations can be made. It was rightly pointed out by Mr Salve that any judgment passed by the judiciary must be debated and must be challenged in a way that it should not denigrate the institution of Judiciary. In fact this brings the point of former speaker Mr Somnath Chatterjee’s assertion that judiciary should not intervene in the matters of legislatures as both are at the apex (debatable), Judiciary as well as Legislature, but as a convention, generally Judiciary is held supreme. But if Judiciary is supreme then what about the Legislature and the group of ministers and the Cabinet, who are the democratically elected representatives of people, which is the Law making body in the country? It also supreme All derive power from Constitution of India and constitution of India provides rights to every citizen and it is the duty of the Judiciary to see that no one gets injustice. So like Legislature which is answerable to the people of the country, Judiciary should also be answerable to the people. Of course it a long debatable matter and experts must be thinking over it for a long time.Actually this whole debate may have also come about because of the decay in moral values of our people in our parliamentary system starting from the top where I have already mentioned that if we, the people, are not alert we deserve the same quality of governance as the quality of people we have chosen. We have chosen bad people and that is why bad sets of decisions are taken and it effects the entire system and it has corrupted the whole system to such an extent that not only the legislature, the executive, the police, the business, even Judiciary or army is not immune to it. This signals the breakdown of entire system which everyone agrees but waiting for someone to start improving the system and start saying NO!. We have to raise to the occasion and demand our rights and do our duties before it is too late. Every individual has to take pledge, I don’t know when but this has to be done and encouraged by recent media activitism this can be achieved. There are tools available in the judiciary systems as well as RTI to question any officer or any decision taken by the govt. Lets be an awakened and empowered society. Not let any injustice be done to anyone and lets be Indian first. Amen Media. .