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Why Is There No Barrier To Becoming A Journalist? – OpEd


There are two professions all over the world that seem to have no entry barrier. Anyone can get in and get out at any time.

One is politics (Yes, people from all sorts of background with or without formal education enter politics at various levels these days to get powerful positions and make money and are much different from the earlier days when people entered politics sacrificing their personal interests for the national good) and journalism (Yes. Job seekers largely view journalism as a profession and more as an earning opportunity and for getting known, rather than viewing it as an opportunity to set the wrong to become right and fight for larger national good).

Both politicians and journalists largely influence the mood of the people and except for a very few, they do not perceive and recognize the lofty ideals of these two professions, which should reflect on their desire for noble cause.

This scenario is much different from the scenario a few decades back when most politicians and journalists were viewed as role models for younger generation. No doubt, the world is suffering today heavily due to the fall in the standards of politicians and journalists , which is certainly not a flattering remark but very much close to the ground realities.

Frequently ,politicians and journalists are accused of heinous crimes like rape, corrupt practices. collusion with criminals etc.

While, by and large ,people seem to have reconciled themselves to the negative view that politicians cannot anymore reach the standards that were set up in the earlier days, there is still hope amongst the people that the journalists should and will play the role expected of them. While it is a fact that most of the journalists seem to behave like half politicians taking sides and having prejudiced views, there are still a few cases where journalists uphold the value systems as per the expectations of people. But, they are few and far between and do not get the attention , popularity and publicity that they deserve.

Today, it is very well known that several business houses , politicians, motivated activist groups and religious institutions own media houses in both print and visual media. They recruit only such journalists, who can bend their views to meet the needs and expectations of the promoters, most of whom have vested interests. The journalists who are not willing to compromise often find themselves out of jobs

It is even increasingly becoming difficult to get articles and investigative reports published in media, unless it would meet the needs of the promoters in one way or the other.

While journalists and journalism have some code of conduct and several organisations for journalists exist, which are supposed to uphold the journalistic ethics, they do not serve the intended purpose, as they are controlled and managed by media representatives who belong to various media that are not independent in approach and viewpoint.

What is increasingly disturbing is the fact that several allegations appear in various newspapers and journals and television media about events and people, which are not substantiated by proof. Many times, it is said that the information has come from “ from reliable sources” and nobody knows as to which is the reliable source and what is the real source of information.

When the journalists are challenged to prove their source of information, they claim media freedom and say that they have a right to protect someone by not revealing their identity who gave them the information and they have the liberty not to reveal the source of data and information. Is this not an unethical practice? This causes suspicion.

When the complaints are made about motivated campaign in the media, the association of journalists, which are many in number, join together and conduct protest meetings condemning the government and those who make complaints. Again, such protest of the journalists are prominently published by the media, but not the point of view of those who lodge the complaints.

Under such circumstances, one gets an impression that media has become a profession that is free for all and concept of media freedom has gone to ridiculous level. Even the governments often hesitate to take action against erring journalists fearing media backlash.

While science and technologies are rapidly developing, and specialisations in every field have become a necessity to comment about the developments knowledgeably, many journalists seem to think that they can comment on any subject where they have no particular expertise. We often see TV debates conducted by the same anchor who comment on issues related to nuclear power on one day, irrigation problem on another day, farmers woes on third day and educational policies on the next day. They often invite politicians and activists to speak on such issues, who may not have particular expertise in the field.

Journalism all over the world is now sliding dangerously and it is not good for the social fabric of any country in the short and long run.

Happily, there are still highly principled journalists in our midst and they need to assert themselves and stem the rot and concerned people should support such journalists of high standard. The cry that the journalists need entry barrier would become louder in the coming period.

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N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

2 thoughts on “Why Is There No Barrier To Becoming A Journalist? – OpEd

  • June 12, 2019 at 7:16 am

    In India the bewildering multiplicities of Languages makes it difficult for a good article to reach Large numbers of people. (One example is Karnad who wrote mainly in Kannada.
    Very important issues must be dealt with at GREAT length which is not possible in newspapers: that kind of treatment can be given only in a Journal (e.g. Foreign Affairs ).
    Websites do help but that source is limited
    Devendra Oza

  • June 13, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    Very illuminating and bold article on a burning issue. The author has very ably, perhaps for the first time ever, sought to equate two disparate breed of mercenaries, both ultimately converging on the same path of self aggrandisement through the criminal path of unjust enrichment by way of more or less blackmailing the crooks and then joining hands with them. We are very much aware of the politicians exploiting the position of power (of looting govt treasuries, for instance) and of those called journalists making money and earning bv fame at the cost of the interests and sovereignty of the country (inter aliaby joining hands with the enemies of their bolen country). The author has ventured to highlight and exposed nefarious character of high profile media honchos masquerading as journalists. This article deserves wide publicity.


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