THE PRESS IN INDIA is regarded as the fourth pillar of democracy and it is an institution made for the welfare of the country and its people. According to Article 19 (1) A of Indian constitution, all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression. So, the press enjoys this freedom of speech and is considered an authentic medium through which people of the country can ask for their rights. This past week a TV channel did a sting operation in which Uma Khurana, mathematics teacher in a
In fact, in last few decades the press has been questioned several times for wrongdoing or for not fulfilling its duties properly, which is really a matter of concern for all. Since its origin till date, the times have changed and so has the mindset of people and along with it, the modus operandi of press has also transformed with the changing scenario.
First let us take a look at the history of press in
Following the start of 24 hours news channel Aaj Tak, a major revolution came in the field of Electronic media and a number of channels came over the years, that included NDTV, Star News, Zee News, IBN7 and India TV. Now there are over fifty news channels in
Now coming back to the sting operation against Uma Khurana. Last week, after watching the report on the TV news channels all thought that what was shown was authentic. Eventually, the teacher was converted to a notorious criminal for the parents of the children studying in the school and the people living across the nation as well. Uma Khurana was sacked from the job and was badly abused and assaulted by a mob near the school. Later she was arrested and remanded in judicial custody for her alleged involvement in the prostitution racket.
On Friday a surprising development occurred in this case, when Delhi Police arrested the correspondent of the TV News Channel, Prakash Singh. Besides, Rashmi Singh, who writes for a Hindi newspaper, posed as a schoolgirl and the victim of the prostitution racket in the sting operation, was also taken in judicial custody till 15th September.
While talking with IANS (Indo-Asian News Service), a senior official of police said, "We have arrested Prakash Singh, reporter of Live India channel, for carrying out a fake sting operation, which showed that Uma Khurana, mathematics teacher of Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya was forcing her students into prostitution. Further the official added "We are currently interrogating him and it seems that he conducted the sting to ensnare Khurana, who had some financial disputes with his friend Virender Arora."
Meanwhile, Live India Channel CEO Sudhir Chaudhary said, "The entire sting is not fake but yes there are weak links, which we also came to know after reading media reports and after police started investigating."
On Friday, the Delhi High court issued strict orders in response to the media reports and asked the
Whether Uma Khurana was involved in the prostitution racket or not, for the truth we would have to wait for the order of the court. After Friday’s development in the case, a number of questions arise in my mind that have also been raised earlier by a media critic Ganti Suryanarayan Bhargava. In his book ’The Press in India: An Overview’, he has put up many questions related to functioning of media such as - is the missionary zeal with which the press started in India giving way to crass professionalism? Is the outer glamour of the press becoming more pronounced than its content? Is the media, as an opinion maker, playing more of a negative role than a positive one? In his book, G S Bhargava has raised and addressed many such significant questions while tracing the evolution of the press as an industry and the way it redefines itself with the changing times.
Broadly speaking, raising fingers against the functioning of the press, only due to a few irresponsible reporters or correspondents is not fair. Even today, a couple of centuries since its birth, the press is fair, fulfilling its duties very well and has maintained its credibility in the country and amongst its people. Most importantly, questions will always be raised against the press and it’s functioning. It is the duty of each and every person related to journalism how they understand and fulfill their responsibilities and keep themselves away from controversies.
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