Ethics of a media anchor, press editor, hubber or a blogger
A problem all countries with press freedom face today
This is just a quick hub. I am going back to comments. There was an interesting discussion with a blogger, who says that he is afraid that a big violence may erupt and he is trying to prevent it. I and another commentator were trying to tell him that even in a free blog or a hub, particularly when you want to lead many others, one has to be careful. One has to see that aim is not to play just a game but to find truth.We were also trying to tell him that the news, way it appears in media and press, can be misleading and one has to be careful about it.
(I added later link of the article of this blogger which generated this discussion in the end. It is also in my comment just below the second comment by suny51).
After two three exchanges, I wrote the following comment. I hope you also find it interesting. The events we describe are from media, press and politics in India which he was covering. But I think any body can understand from contents, what we are talking about and it can happen any where in world.These questions about behavior of bloggers, media or press persons are being raised not just in India or USA. People in practically any democratic country with media-press freedom are worried about them.
The comment (I am not modifying much in the comment)
Let me give you here two examples from your article and comments you wrote, to make again the point I and Gyanp were trying to help you understand but you are either unable to see or are not ready to see it.
1. In comment number 20 you wrote “But what is “peacefully?” India’s history has been as full of violence as many other countries. There were many barbaric practices that were prevalent.”
then in comment 24 you accepted that it is not true “About our county’s past – it’s quite possible that “Religious” violence per se was not a huge factor.”
2. In your comment 20 you quoted my sentence “What you are saying amounts to essentially sort of a lynching rule — “Look I decided that Modi was responsible for Godhra riots so he is responsible.”
“But where did I say that?”
When I quoted in comment 23 your sentence
“We must never forget that the government is for the people. The government is the servant of the people and not its master. How can a state serve its people by killing them? Those who excuse Modi’s involvement in the Godhra riots by pointing to the “development” of Gujarat are committing the terrible blunder of forgetting history and ignoring the purpose of government.”
“I do not know what you felt but to me this is essentially lynching not just Modi but our whole government machinery and law and order system. ”
You accepted it in comment 24 by saying
“If you take my sentence about Modi, development etc, it indeed seems like I’m unfairly targeting Modi.”
but tried to explain that why you had to do it.
Are these examples not enough for you to at least consider that when you write so quickly you tend to make mistakes (you almost accept it also).
Not so much wrong in making mistakes while thinking but while expressing is a different matter
There is nothing wrong in making a mistake in one’s thinking, if you are not ready to make initial mistakes in thinking you may not be able to go much further.
But it is a different matter when after some understanding you want to express. One has to make some commitments –
It does not matter whether you do science, arts, engineering, marketing, politics, media, press religion or even write a free blog, one has to have
a. A commitment to truth
I will try my best to express nothing but truth. My goal is to find out the truth and understand it further. Even teaching, research or writing a blog is not just for others, it also helps much more oneself to learn and understand his/her own ideas and those of others better. This requires an infinite commitment to “nothing but truth”
Even when you feel you are 100% right one should assess and reassess 100 times “oh! what I am expressing has no mistake.”
b. A commitment to not hurting others
One has to be 100% sure that what ever you are doing is not going to hurt others physically, reputation wise or in any other way.
(now look at what you were doing — in this light? Here you almost say you had some excuse to lynch not just a person, our whole government machinery and accuse it of being a killer- you say you did not mean it, but surely you must have felt how it may be taken? Is it enough to express regret later by such sentences or give an excuse for causing hurt to some one?)
Choice of being a good human-being- biggest pleasure in one's life
Of course there are millions, may be even billions, who do not follow such principles. But choice is with you, whether you want to be one of them or a good blogger, engineer, doctor or what ever or just play games, more than any thing else, it is of being a good human-being (that does not require one to have religion or atheism- it is one’s own basic instinct. A good person does not need any body else for himself/herself to be taught these principles).
Once you see things in this light I am sure you yourself will try to assess, why you made such errors. You will find many other similar errors in your blogs and above comments itself.
Blindness caused by a false sense of commitment
Perhaps you may want to even assess what were the causes, which led to such errors (you already did a little bit of that in above comments). It is difficult for a person to guess thinking of another person. But from general observations one can infer that such mistakes one makes, when one is blinded by one fact or one goal and blinds oneself to see reality coming from other directions.
Now look at public figures from politics, media and press.
1. If a free blogger can go to this extent what must be happening to professional media or press persons?
Just try to see that in a free blog where you have all the freedom and no money involved, you can err so easily and with a motivation to prove some thing and go to the extent of hurting reputation of the whole government machinery by almost declaring that it may be a killer, what happens to those, whose profession is to pass through such events in hourly basis.
Not following basic principles may end up in a never ending cycle of falling in a ditch
If they do not follow the above principles they can be much more blind and become quite helpless. They can not easily accept a mistake as you can do in a free blog. They can loose their job, their reputation. Once they make one such mistake, it may start a never ending cycle.
A top editor had to resign- what such an editor/news paper should do to compensate for ruining life of others beyond damage
It has happened in India to even top editors. Some years back one chief editor of the top news paper or magazine lost his job because it turned out that he allowed a false news item to be published motivated by similar blindness of going in only one direction and ready to nail or lynch some body who had different ideas then his own. He expressed regret later. But questions raised then were also -- is a regret or resignation enough for such motivations, which can result in ruining life of others beyond damage?
If you do not know about it just try to find out more details about it. It should not be difficult to find on internet this incident even though it was a few years back. Don’t try to find it as evidence but try it more as a learning process.
Feudal management leads to having not much choice
As I explained earlier some of the dominating political parties and media and press organizations in India are being managed in feudal manner by some family owners or managers. When systems are managed in a feudal manner by some people, one obviously needs full loyalty from people in the organization. The choice of getting managers is then limited. The same person was appointed again as a top person after a few months.
2. Let me explain to you since you are not ready to understand yourself, why I have said in my comments that you seem to be not interested in truth that much but in just playing some games.
You asked several times evidence, I wrote to you just look at news paper of any day to learn and an example I gave you from yesterday’s news papers. The news items say that
A chief minster paid for a news item to appear
a. Chief minister of one of the largest states accepted that he has paid for news items to appear in news and media ( he says he paid for an ad to appear as a news item without marking that it is an ad. This phenomena of an ad to appear as a news item has been now followed by some media and press organizations and has troubled many– but does it not amount to paying for news item to appear? ) .
Editors guild expresses it inability and wants government machinery to manage ethics - what does it imply for the IV estate ?
b. Top representatives of editor’s guild want government machinery (election commission) to control some basic questions of ethics about news item since they can not control it. Editor’s guild is one of the bodies which is supposed to keep control on ethics and discipline of news organizations but here it wants government to get into controlling it?
Do not look as only scandals, conspiracies, allegations - pleasure of understanding is more for self learning.
Don’t you feel that these are serious enough items. In most democratic countries it will create a furor. In India also it appeared as headlines. You live in USA, if you are unable to see seriousness of such events ask some people there. Way you responded it seems you do not find them serious enough to start. If you do not want to see that these are serious enough incidents to at least start exploring how our media, press and politics are being managed then nothing can be serious enough. Again this exploration has to be not for searching for scandals, conspiracies or allegations as you seem to have a feeling, it has to be a self learning process to understand what is happening in our country.
Such self learning is needed first, if you want to lead others or write good blogs or follow two principles I mentioned above. Choice is yours, whether you want to do this or just play games. I need not say going to second choice is much easier.