The term ideal journalism seems like an oxymoron. Can journalism ever be ideal? In this age of short attention spans and even shorter memories, the essence of journalism has been diluted to such an extent that there is hardly any difference between it and reality television.Both exist to satisfy the collective demand. Objective and unbiased journalism seems like the mythical unicorn-weve all heard of it but who has really ever seen it? The fourth pillar of democracy has become hollow and weak.
To me, ideal journalism encompasses a holistic and unbiased view of an event. Journalism, in its purest form, is free of any biases and implications (we have the opinion columns for that). Ideal journalism comprises of four basic elements. First, the information has to be of substance. It should be useful, educational as well as enriching. It should add value to our lives. Second, the information should have cultural and social relevance. Third, the information should have integrity. It should be accurate and verified. It goes without saying that a journalist should be honest and completely independent to report on anything. Lastly, journalism should be sensitive. Rather than have curbs on free speech, isnt it better to respect certain boundaries?
I remember the time when BBC and CNN epitomized free and impartial journalism. Sadly, the same does not hold true today. Due to the pressures of advertising and TRPs, journalists are forced to violate their code of ethics for material gains. The phenomenon of yellow journalism and embedded journalism has eroded public trust to a large extent. That time is not far when people will begin to see news as it actually is-entertainment and nothing else!
The challenge our journalists face today has nothing to do with content and delivery. It is to regain the lost trust of the masses. Journalistic integrity should be the primary focus of every journalist. Journalism should be at the fore front of change and intellectual development. Otherwise, we might as well be India TV. They once reported that an Indian satellite had discovered the presence of water and whales on Jupiter. Turned out that the satellite had crashed into the Arabian Sea!
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