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Rahul Gandhi's comment over ANI interview of PM Modi
If you think that Arnab Goswami, Rohit Sardana or Rahul Shivshankar is the only journalist joker of the idiot box, you are pleasantly mistaken. There is a mushrooming tribe of pen-pushers and anchors that are competing with each other to survive in this thankless and unsafe profession.

However, it is interesting to see that the 'Editor's Guild' that has long surrendered to act as a guardian of journalistic values has suddenly woke up at Rahul Gandhi's remark that Asian News International (ANI) Editor, Smita Prakash appeared to be a pliant journalist. The Editor's Guild was vociferously silent when the noted anchors Prasun Joshi and Abhisar Sharma were shown the door because their work became uncomfortable for the powers de jure. The Editors Guild of India said on this Thursday that it believes journalists should claim no immunity from healthy and civilised criticism, but at the same time their labelling has emerged as a "favourite tactic" on the part of the establishment to discredit, delegitimise and intimidate them. "We have seen our political class use this for some time now. In the recent past, top BJP leaders as well as those of AAP have used unambiguously abusive expressions such as 'presstitute', news-traders, 'bazaaru' ……….

Will the EG please note that journalism has been gradually and steadily losing its ethics in the new India. Today, a journalist who acts as a politician or a stooge of political outfit can't be treated better than a politician. Journalists in today's age don't put the hard yard and don't discuss public issues. Journalism has sunk to the worst possible levels in the last 4-5 years. You have channels like 'Republic TV' that claim Narendra Modi is a great man but the country is not ready for his greatness. 'Times Now' often says that what else is there to be achieved by the Modi government….? Simple fact - Start doing ethical journalism then your fraternity could regain your lost respect.

Today no one trusts the media. EG is free to '"note with concern" the words used by Congress President Rahul Gandhi in his criticism of the journalist who interviewed Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week. Instead of criticising Rahul Gandhi, the EG should have been bold enough to accept that the interview was merely a PR exercise. Why can't they be honest & frank about it? Use of word 'pliable' by Rahul may not be appropriate because of the interviewer being a woman but it conveys the message to the public that the interview was another 'Mann Ki Baat' of the PM and not an interview? Journalists should also look in the mirror and ask themselves why they have lost credibility. Watching the idiot box every day at 9 pm or coloured articles of claques give an impression that Indian journalism is no longer the fourth pillar of democracy.

Asian News International (ANI) that vouchsafed the interview is an Indian news agency known for its soft corners. Here are some excerpts of interview:

Q: Whether any regret during this term, and one source of satisfaction during this term.

Prime Minister: I leave it to people to decide whether they are satisfied or not with my work. But one thing, I am not surprised, I could neither make the Lutyen's world part of me or me a part of them. I did not want them to be a part of me as my background is different. I am a representative of the non-elite world. I could not win them over, still trying how to win over such forces. I have enjoyed every minute. There is honesty in my work, I work for the people.

Q: Rahul Gandhi has made a personal allegation against you about cronyism. Allegation is that Anil Ambani is your friend and that you helped put pressure on the French Government, Dassault to benefit your friend. You haven't spoken out about this, after all, why are you quiet on this issue?

Prime Minister: This is not an allegation against me personally, but an allegation against my government. If there is any allegation against me personally, let them dig who gave what, when and where and to whom. In Parliament, I have spoken elaborately on this and whichever public forum I got, I spoke about this. The matter has been cleared even by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court scrutinised it threadbare. The French President has spoken. ..The least they should do, the questions you are asking me, media should have the courage to ask where is the evidence for these allegations? Don't throw muck and run away.... They are not able to give any real evidence, just keep talking. Unko yeh bolne ki beemari hai toh mujhe kya baar baar usi me ulajna chahiye kya? (If they have this habit of raising this constantly should I also get embroiled in it?)

Q: If we go by your narrative, you have been talking about a Congress-mukt Bharat since 2013. But the recent elections proved that the common man considers the Congress an option to you...This is why in the Hindi heartland, considered your foundation, Congress governments have been formed. Your goal of a Congress-mukt Bharat is not coming to fruition.

Prime Minister: Even Congress people say Congress is a thought, a culture. That culture has been in mainstream for such a long period. Because of this, it has become an integral part of Indian political culture. What is that culture - Casteism, Dynastic politics, undemocratic, nepotism. Congress represents this culture. When I say Congress-mukt, I want to rid the country from this culture and this sort of thinking. And I have even gone to say that Congress too needs to be mukt of this Congress culture. Whether institute remains or not, I accept that in a democracy, a strong Opposition is essential but unfortunately the Congress has failed even in that.

Several books have been written about Indian journalism of past and journalists and it is not the topic of article. Indian journalism is at crossroads today. It is caught in the trauma of having to reconcile the traditions of the past as espoused by the many distinguished senior journalists and unyielding realities of the new globalised India. Invariably, these new realities are pushing journalists to cross and breach all limits and constraints prescribed by their elder colleagues. The senior journalists, many of them, served as a role model for the younger generation so they could also be forthright and outspoken in their writings. They have also taught how to maintain the quality of the newspaper or periodical and the resultant circulation and readership. Today, as journalism is becoming a tool to exploit the financial gains for Business Houses, there is real professional chaos and vacuum in the journalistic firmament. A journalist is no longer a honest and learned Opinion Maker but just another employee who works for a salary and had been paid if even a little too late! He now produces articles and copy or presents a show that is safe and risk-free. He cannot sacrifice his job security at any cost.

I'm thankful that my parents didn't let me dive into this pool as a full time swimmer in the inception of my career. A citizen journalist is a safe bet.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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