Thursday, September 28, 2017

Freedom and Journalism - Exploding a myth

Journalists and freedom – Mythical connection

Those who have jobs in Media and who have well honed writing, presentation skills in English have repeatedly assured us that they are ‘the journalists’. Recently, Bee Rowlatt has written a piece in Times Of India that is satisfying in a particular way. A mediocre write up in a less than mediocre Newspaper, bereft of reason, rational but written well. Making up of what is lacking in content with flashy form. Well packaged dud sold in high end mall, TOI as an analogy.
Writing is a skill honed by practice. There are good writers and bad ones. Writing is a trade as driving or plumbing or Accounting is. This has nothing to do with freedom or conscience or most definitely, ethics. I would go as far as saying that it appears that when good writing or presentation skill arrives, ethics departs, with exceptions. The Journalist, being trained in writing and in the manipulative capabilities of mass communication, are adept at making nebulous connections seem real and cause-and-effect, non-existent.
We all do suffer from a rational shortcoming called ‘endowment effect’, that is valuing a thing we own more than other people value it resulting in overestimating the value of things we have, we own, our choices. An advantage Journalists have that the rest do not, is, they can bombard us with that false propaganda, a la Goebbels, day in and day out. Thus, make the public accept a false notion by sustained attack on our freewill. Make us buy a defective ware at a marked up price. The notion that Journalism is amongst the flag bearers of freedom, is questionable in current times.
I have tried to explain the idea with a Venn Diagram, not a research paper quality. While we are talking about A U C who dominate the Media today, those in Media want us to believe that they are A U D. That is the crux of the problem                

In her article Bee wants us to believe that all in the Journalist community exist as A U D. Since all exist in A U D, she is also one of them. Hence she stands for freedom and entitled to privileges that you and I do not have. I have found a shortcoming in logic as a mandatory skillset among journalists such as Bee.
The Journalism is another way to earn a livelihood and to say it requires privileges is a spurious argument. If fighting for freedom and putting one’s life in peril is the criteria, the one Jawan in the border outdoes all the Journalists a million times every day. A steel worker who puts his concern for own health so that the same Journalist can ride a car or scooter is at graver danger. I can go on and on and show every other trade is as good or better than Journalism and Journalism is a hollow and privileged life for the gossip mongers.
There was a time when the dissemination of information depended on New papers and Radios, then TVs; public depended on them to get news. There were good men and women who thought of informing the public their duty. Let us not confuse it with today’s situation. There are many reasons why the Journalists of current era are not considered virtuous.
1.      Variant of Gresham’s Law: Unethical Journos will be able to get economic advantage in the long run by
a.       Inventing outrageous and irrelevant stories to keep the circulation up, feeding the curious public.
b.      Subverting a true story by burying it for a price or twisting the narrative to protect institutions or people.
2.      The news is owned by corporates that has nothing do with Freedom. This is an aspect no Journalist will ever go into as their daily bread depends on it. Gresham’s law drives the unethical one to rise in such organizations.
3.      News is not being served without a strong dose of social engineering tinged with ideology and people are fed up of being told what is right and what is not.
4.      The creeping ideology and proximity to politics is coloring the news that we hear, so much so, not listening to news is considered a great way to maintain objectivity.
5.      Indulging in blackmail by taking advantage of human failings.
6.      Abetting the corrupt political class and joining the bandwagon of societal parasites for own pecuniary gains.
For each of these cases there are many examples, in India and abroad. The lifestyle of some of these Journalists does not explain how they could amass such wealth by spreading truth.
Finally, what will give a more accurate time? An average of 100s of not so expensive watches or one high end watch? The former has an advantage that the latter does not. Nowadays, accurate and raw news spread by Social Media that bears stamp of credibility. The Journalist tribe is rendered obsolete. The mammoth organizations find their foundation rocking, that is one reason why the deep state Journalism Industry is coercing Social Media to block unrestrained flow of news. So much love for Freedom of Expression.
My advice to Journalists, get a job that contributes to economy instead of living off the verbal waste of the society. You have no privileges. Do not spread a canard that by saying so, I am anti-freedom. It is because I am for unfettered freedom of expression, I denounce media traders like you and your ilk.
The western idea of Journalism is a demon in itself. It is an exploitative arm of a ruthless capitalistic orchestration. Anyone who is steeped in Hindu values will be able to see the contradiction in Journalism and pursuit of Freedom.
I have demolished the article written by Bee with less than a sentence per para.

Press Freedom is Bullshit. Or so a bright young woman on Twitter recently assured me. It seems to be a view rapidly gaining currency, alongside cries of ‘presstitute’ and ‘fake news’. But attacking press freedom is like saying food is overrated, or that oxygen is a bit embarrassing: it makes no sense. Unless you’re a dodgy transnational corporation, or a tyrant. If you’re not one of these things then it’s just self-harm, in a peculiarly triumphant wrapping. #Strawman
Two factors are driving the new hatred of press freedom. One is a distortion of the lens of what people think of journalists. Contrary to popular belief, most journalists are not self-regarding repositories of privilege. Most are something else entirely, but the problem is, you don’t know them. You haven’t heard of them and you don’t know their names. Nonetheless there they are, working tirelessly on unremarkable salaries, in newsrooms all over the world. #Denial
The journalists that you don’t know are giving voice to acid attack victims, exposing drug cartels, following trails of dirty money. They are investigating deaths in custody, defending children’s access to schools, and trying to clean up rivers. These non-glittery journalists are a vital part of the power balance between a government and its people. They are foot soldiers of accountability, what Nelson Mandela called “the lifeblood of any democracy” #NotAll #SelectiveReporting #IgnoranceOfNatureOfRandomnessInLife #Exploiters  #ExceptionProvesTheRule
This is even more true of regional reporters, those outside of the capital cities and the mainstream. This, says journalist Tongam Rina, is because local journalists are closer to the story; they are “right where the hardest questions need to be asked”. However, she adds, “this also puts them in the frontline of reactions and repercussions”.#SMisCloserThanJournalists #JournalistAreObsolete
Which brings us to the second driver behind people’s hatred of journalism: the powers that be. Nic Dawes of Human Rights Watch argues that what we’re seeing is no spontaneous outburst, rather that outrage is now being “deliberately manufactured” on an alarming new scale, “whether it emanates from Donald Trump, Rodrigo Duterte, or armies of social media trolls”. #IdeologyDrivenMedia #DisrespectPlebianChoice #ElitistJournalism #IKnowWhatIsGoodForSocietyArrogance #ThanksIcanThinkForMyself #HumanRightsWatchHasNoCredibility
It’s clear why governments might find it politically expedient for their citizens to mistrust journalists. But for those already fired up with journo-hating indignation – be sparing with your obedience. If you love your government, well lucky you. But what if the next government, or the one after that, isn’t quite so pleasing? It might reallocate funds away from your community, deny healthcare for your children. Without journalists, who will hold it to account?
This requires a bit of prosaic answering. Have you ever wondered why the Journalists were happy during corrupt UPA regime but are very unhappy when corruption is not prevalent and discouraged under BJP rule? Voters determine the policy of Government. To think that these Journalists are doing it for us is laughable, arrogant and privilege seeking. The morsels the Journalists picked from corrupt politicians are not forthcoming. That is the reason of all this heart burn.
It’s worth envisaging what it means not to have press freedom. Who better to ask than Reporters Without Borders (whose Press Freedom Index this year shows India dropping to 136th, but hey at least it’s three places ahead of Pakistan). Its spokesperson describes press freedom as an “indispensable counter-power”, without which “other freedoms won’t be guaranteed”.#SMIsTheNewPressFreedom #CorporateNewsIsAntiPressFreedom

What are the other freedoms? The obvious one is the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression, as enshrined in the Indian Constitution. It contains no direct reference to the press, but constitutional lawyer Menaka Guruswamy points out that the Supreme Court has “consistently found for the free press”.
Hindu idea of freedom is nuanced and goes beyond the protestant values embedded in constitution as freedom of speech. Eventually, the objective is to temper the Constitution that stands with alien western value system.
Meanwhile people who believe that they hate journalists are taking to social media in their angry droves. Maybe what they actually hate is privilege. Or women, judging by many of the attacks. In any case there’s a bitter irony; when people attack press freedom they are undermining the right of their freedom of speech to do so. Like i said: self-harm. #StrawmanAgain

After all you don’t have to like all the press. Nibble on BuzzFeed, the Pringles of journalism, or chew something more sustaining, it’s up to you. But when you start attacking press freedom, be careful. Freedom of the press isn’t some mincing left-wing luxury, like a Fair-Trade Americano with hot milk. Freedom of the press underpins all freedoms. That freedom is part of your own. #LetMeTakeCareOfMyFreedom #GetAJobThatProducesSomething
John Milton landed the first punch in defence of press freedom back in 1644 with his flame-throwing Areopagitica. Its words reappear over a century later inspiring the US First Amendment, and illuminate the entrance to the New York Public Library. His argument? Let people read freely; we will be the judge. Even if it’s bad, we can learn from that. “Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.” #HaHaComingFromYou

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