Business Standard

An open letter to all journalists

It's time to get objective if we want our readers and viewers to take us seriously.

Abhishek Jha
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It’s the season of open letters and so here is mine. I’d also like to write to the next of the country but do you think he really cares? No, he doesn’t and even his bhakts (read the majority) don’t. Isn’t that a sad state of affairs? We as fourth estate have failed.
 
A large section of the Indian population despises us. Thinks we are pseudo intellectuals and have wronged their messiah Narendra Modi. The result is that they don’t take us seriously. How much of this is true? Well for starters, we are pseudo intellectuals, no doubt about it. So let’s get that out of the way.
 
Have we wronged Naredra Modi? Or worse, been outsmarted? Yes we have!

When the Gujarat riots happened in 2002, the media went hammer and tongs against him. This was understandable and the right thing to do. But as time passed Modi bashing crept into our DNA. We lost objectivity and defamed any good he was doing as the Chief Minister of Gujarat. ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ was called a hoax and innumerable reports surfaced which debunked and criticised Gujarat’s development. Why did we choose sides? Why could a journalist not criticise and praise him at the same time? If we had, we would have maintained our integrity and been taken more seriously.
 
Anyway, when we were busy reading and smiling at our own stories, Mr. Modi played smart. He projected himself as the aggrieved, he showed that he was pro-development and wanted to lead the country out of the abyss created by UPA but the media was not giving him his due and was plotting against him. This angered the public. A perceived war started between Modi the developer versus the Media. We had played into his hands and allowed ourselves to become a tool in his  election campaign.
 
were born faster than cockroaches and as it happens in this social media age, within no time, the likes of Rajdeep Sardesai and gang were labeled crooks. Language, behavior and common sense touched new lows. If the Modi bhakts led the way, how could the intellectuals be left far behind? Luckily Arvind Kejriwal burst onto the scene and the fight was back. The actual ‘krantikari’ journalist died. But I still can’t despise the troll.  I (we) am one too.  So let’s accept it, we were outsmarted.
 
So what lays ahead for we the journalists? Like it or not, a new era is starting. A single party has got the mandate to rule after 30 years. Mr. Modi has promised ‘ache din’. Whether he lives up to them or not will be watched closely and in the next election the people of India will judge him on that. We should just ensure that we are not part of the next campaign. Let us strive to be the commentators we should be, come 2019. Let us criticise the wrongs and praise the rights. Let us tell the reader that the figure is exaggerated but overall the show has been a success in the same article. In short, let us get our esteem back! 

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