A journalist who shoots off her mouth and broke a couple of hundred rules in journalism goes and issues fatwa against a writer who voiced his anxiety and dismay at the situation. Then she coolly joins the chorus of people pleading with the government not to muzzle the press. Note the irony here? Heck… this is not irony. It is plain arrogance, hypocrisy, intimidation, violation of the fundamental right to freedom of speech, thought and expression and most importantly, muzzling the voice of a citizen who has expressed his opinion as a concerned citizen while millions others kept quite. If we are going to shoot down every man who stands up and voices concern over what he perceives is not a healthy trend for our society as a large, then we as a democratic nation are doomed.
It is like serving a notice to the thousands of people who thronged the streets of Mumbai, in peaceful protest against political apathy forcing the government to take stern action against the perpetrators of the November Mumbai attacks.
This incident has to be the lowest that journalism has sunk to in recent times. And I am appalled that the bearded man who ushered in the Indian telecasting revolution remained a mute spectator while his star reporter petulantly went about violating every rule in the book and then some rules in the Constitution because someone dared to point a finger at her. If this man has any conscience he will kick the offending reporter out and redeem the name of his company. He has to teach the people in his organization that no one is bigger than the company he founded on the principles of ethical journalism.
What is happening to us as a society? If a journalist gets criticized she serves a notice to the critic! If some random guy does not like us drinking, he will beat us up! If some stranger does not like the way I dress up, he will force the government to pass ordinance that defines what I wear or not! What next? Will a woman who is raped be tried for indecency? Will I serve time for being robbed at gun point? Will a wife who is thrashed by her husband be sued for misdemeanor?
And what is worse, instead of being pulled up for breaking the laws of this country, the government is actually going to make their demand legitimate. Yes people… forty odd people in a coastal town of an Indian state are going to decide for the rest of the 52 Crore people in the State what is right or wrong for them! So what valuable lesson do we learn from this situation? That if you want your voice to be heard by the powers that be…resort to violence!!!
A second uprising is necessary now. Like the one we witnessed in Mumbai. This time against intolerance and goondaism and violation of civil liberties. State sponsored intolerance in the name of religion and culture will slowly eat away our rights as citizens of a free country. We the educated middle class, a class these elements constantly target as we are soft targets, have to stand up for what we have fought for. It is not the duty of the government to spell out how we live our lives. It is their duty to govern. Give us roads, drinking water, safety and jobs instead of telling us what to eat drink or wear! That is none of their business. As a people we are long used to looking after ourselves. We have suffered enough of political apathy and inaction. And now to rub salt to our wounds, we have to put up with political interference is our personal lives too. That is the last straw!
It is high time we had an instrument by which we can track a government’s record in governance and make them accountable to the people who voted for them. Proposals like this will go a long way in reigning in politicians and remind them that the power is with the people and if they cannot govern we will look for somebody else who will deliver the goods.
This is my 250th post here. Wish it had a happier topic! Some good news here at last!