Gagging of DGP, is it justified?
- Bhandaru Srinivasrao
To me, it appears, my colleagues in the media keep on drawing the wrath of the powers that be as well people in general. This was evident from the recent statement of the state Information and Public Relations Minister, Dr Geeta Reddy in the wake of destruction of Reliance Industries properties all over the state following three TV channels telecasting a debate on the ‘sabotage’ angle of former chief minister Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy’s chopper crash based on a Russian based online tabloid. According to her, the state government had sought Centre’s intervention for establishing a Monitoring Body to oversee (read restrain) print as well electronic media functioning.
Does such a gag from the government necessary? Why stretch things too far? Can’t the media draw their own self-restraining guidelines to prevent the powers that be from venturing into such proposals?
Yet again, I am convinced that my colleagues seem unwilling to learn lessons from their past mistakes and continue to indulge in hara-kiri. The latest being dragging of the state police Chief Girish Kumar into unnecessary controversy.
Well I may not be interested to go into the merits and demerits of the DGPs view point, yet I wish to reiterate that as a hardcore professional and responsible state police chief, he had the right to express his views which he feels right. And it is the responsibility of the media, which poses question should project such views in right perspective, rather than giving a ‘twist’. Of late, it has become a passion for the 24 x 7 news channels, which starve of filling up their news slots, deliberately ‘twist’ facts to serve their purpose. This is what worrying many professionals in the media field.
The pointed question to the state DGP was in his view what he feels about smaller states tackling the growing left-wing extremist problem. He was right when he says that it would be difficult for smaller states with limited resources at its command to tackle the left-wing extremist problem. I am rather aghast to understand what way such a reply can be linked to the ongoing agitation for separate statehood for Telangana?
Had the questioner been more persistent and insisted the DGP to react on the creation of separate Telangana will have any bearing on spread of extremist base, then the linking with it would have been justified by the electronic media. But, the question was ‘general’ though the intentions of the questioner may be different. Yet, such a practice is permissible when tempers are running high? Does these channel news heads so immune to such sensitive and emotive issues? Shouldn’t they be held responsible for their irresponsible professionalism which bound to further whip up regional passions and make the state police chief the ‘butt’ of criticism?
As expected, some of the politicians belonging to the region responded more vocally questioning the propriety of the state police chief to let know such views of his so open which might further vitiate the prevailing environs. And, in my view, some of these leaders’ reactions are although justified, yet they too should restrain before coming to the conclusions based on these irresponsible ‘reportage.’ Some times they too are victims of these unhealthy practices of my electronic media colleagues. Before airing their views, as responsible people’s representatives, they could have as well enquired with the state police chief, who is easily accessible to them, for clarification. Instead, quickly pouncing onto to such ‘irresponsible’ journalists reports and trying to get some mileage of it, only prove their immaturity in public life. No matured politician worth his salt tend to respond based on news reports, more so realizing the present day media! Only media savvy politicians in their bid to be in news always try to take advantage of such misreporting.
As a responsible citizen and journalist, I wish to yet again appeal to my media colleagues as well people’s representatives to verify facts before reacting on any issue, more so when it is sensitive and emotive. If you tend to continue such practices, you bound to lose whatever little credibility you enjoy among the gullible people. Beware of this fact and behave more responsibly.
( Jan.2010 )