Reflecting On Reality
In delivering growth and development the role of state, financial institutions, international trade is well known. In the subsequent years the role of technology, concentration and location, IT sector and even NGOs has been talked about extensively. Media has become such a crucial part of our existence that we tend to ignore it considering it as an obvious instrument. But in a developing country context media is the only institution which can claim a supreme position if growth and justice are the objectives. Else, enough leakages exist at various levels to deny justice to the masses in spite of enormous growth. The unequal access to resources combined with conspicuous consumption and proximity to power circles can provide rationalization to even mass killing practiced by a group of households. This is how cartels exist in spite of gross inefficiency and sub-optimal utilization of resources. Who is then to be relied upon?
Particularly when corruption exists at various levels in a developing country context, it is very difficult to leave life to the mercy of the authorities. Nexuses exist among various groups and individuals because possibilities to convert the devolved interest into profitable gains are enormously huge. In such situations, the limitations of law and order are severe because penalization of one individual may have to expose a large number of stalwarts who might have been in the heart of the power structure. Silence, ignorance and delay are the standard tactics that are followed to take the full advantage of the fact that public memory is short.
The responsibility of media, therefore, can be envisaged not only as a means of creating awareness or providing information to the society but also keeping the issue alive for a long time till a logical conclusion is achieved. In fact, the scope of investigative journalism encompasses obligations and mechanisms of uncovering the truth as an independent agency. It may provide a great lead to the understanding of the law and security agencies and offer directions in carrying out meaningful investigations. To put it differently, the hypothesis can be formed by media based on descriptive statistics, and in-depth research can be carried out by other agencies for its empirical validity.
There is a strong uproar, particularly in the recent context of the death of a talented Indian actor Sushant Singh Rajput, suggesting that media has been critical, judgmental and even surmounting verdicts, trespassing its boundaries. But the precincts of media cannot be fixed. Depending on the situations, media will have to endorse different roles, imitate agencies and build stability in the society. In our day to day life media plays certain usual roles and hence, we get used to it, objecting to its roles in the unusual circumstances. But let us not forget, what media does in the unusual situations actually falls very much within the ambit of its work space. The untiring and striving work done by the media persons can bring transparency into the system and compel the authorities to detect the crime and enforce punishment, as is evident from some of the recent occurrences.
Masses feel the agony but the stress of livelihood provides no space to protest against the odd. In the short story “The Tiger in the Tunnel” by Ruskin Bond, Tembu, a twelve year boy, had to take up the role of the bread earner of the household as soon as his father who used to light the signal-lamp at the railway track at the mouth of the tunnel, was killed by the tiger. Tembu had no time to mourn the death; he had to hold the lamp and quickly step into the shoes of his father. “…but life had to go on, and a living had to be made.”
It is the media which is expected to understand the core of the issue and revolt on behalf of those whose voices are too meek to be heard.
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