By Alok Verma
I resisted the temptation to draw myself into the latest media house controversy. I could see anyone and everyone has a for or against view on the CBI raid. My own fraternity senior or junior also have a very strong for and against views. I have yet to read a very substantive reaction with full knowledge of the facts on the issue. Yes, some are quite charged up very emotionally and some are vehment from very high moralistic grounds.
I must make it clear that I am not preview to any extra facts except for those which are available in public domain. So, I am as informed or ignorant as most of those making observations.
However, being a very sensitive media issue there is a good chance that one can get a tag of being anti-Media house or pro government or vice versa.
Measuring the danger well I have started to think that why does the freedom of press come under attack or fall in danger only when a media institution is raided or issued notice. I am not a votary of a government that undermines the freedom of press or journalists. If the raids are wrong by a government agency it is the duty of every right thinking person to stand against it. My stand will be and is the same.
But my question is how do we or why do we discriminate between the freedom of press of a media organization with that of a journalist?
Hundreds of working journalists are laid off by the very eminent newspapers and news channels in Delhi and outside I did not see the Editors’Guild and many righteous journalists or conscientious citizens to write or issued a statement in favour of the ones, who lost their livelihood for no fault of theirs. They did not get any protection of any kind. I personally know some of them that they had to pick up odd jobs far from anything to do with journalism, to take care of their families. Some had to return to their home towns as they couldn’t afford costs in Delhi.
Well, freedom of press is very sacrosanct and will be difficult for mightiest of the governments or leaders to destroy it. But freedom of press will be in peril when a journalist is forced to work under a severe threat of losing his job. Insecurity is a bigger threat to freedom of press than a raid.
The might of mighty journalists or of Editors’Guild could not force the media owners to implement wage board recommendations. Ask any journalist today does he/she feel secure of his/her job ??