October 07, 2007

life in journalism: cowering before a police state?

From whatever limited I hear, see and sense around me in Indian journalism I have no choice but to say that a vast majority of editors (editor-in-chiefs, executive editors, deputy editors, chiefs of bureau etc) of mainstream newspapers, magazines and television news channels have, in the last 10 years, become almost completely silent on the various dangerous operational biases (anti-minorities, anti-poor, anti-labourer, anti-farmer etc) of the police of most states in India. There is a eerie silence every day in the media on the police’s machinations.

Some (or many) journalists who write on issues related to police, crime, civil, environmental and social issues do not mind this and go along, binding themselves completely to sources in police who provide them with selective information on various cases.

But there are journalists who do not want to be puppets of the police administration. They keep trying their best in their work despite being actively discouraged by their editors and ugly pressures from the police force. Hats off to them. For instance, Tehelka weekly newsmagazine does regular stories on the police (although I find Tehelka goes soft stories on business and stock markets). To take as an example, in their latest issue (13 October 2007, that would have hit the stands on 6 October), there are two stories exposing police machinations. One is on the Delhi police's Special Cell yet-again dubious role in an important investigation and the second and the other is on police-criminal nexus in Tamil Nadu.

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