Don’t pass judgments or reach hasty conclusion: CM, Guv

Don’t pass judgments or reach hasty conclusion: CM, Guv

23 March 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said today that media shouldn’t pass judgments and jump to conclusion but instead concentrate on presenting facts and figures, unbiased and ethical reporting to the people. The media should leave the task of passing judgments to the concerned people. Mr Abdullah was addressing a function to launch ‘Jammu Tribune’ at Hari Palace this morning along with Governor NN Vohra, Tribune’s Editor-in-Chief Raj Chengappa, other Trustees and prominent people. ‘‘The media now-a-days has become mentor, investigator and prosecutor but passing judgments and jumping to conclusions is in no way the role of the press’’, Omar said, adding that the media should leave the role of judge to the people and concentrate more on the news based on facts. He observed that it was not the duty of media to pass judgments and jump to the conclusions without waiting for the real facts to come out. ‘‘Let the media concentrate on facts and figures and do unbiased and ethical reporting, which would help both the press as well as the people’’, the Chief Minister said. Opposing the media-hype, created through certain reporting, Omar said it didn’t augur well. 'On few occasions, when we see the spot…the reality on ground…it is different to the hype created by the media’’, he asserted. Omar said there were so many examples where the media passed judgments but the facts ultimately turned out differently. This is the point, which pinches the shoe, he added. 'You may act as prosecutors but passing judgments and jumping to conclusions is in no way the role of the press. When the story, upon which the media has passed judgment, turned out otherwise, it cannot be reversed, as the damage is already done', he said. 'I don’t think that truth gives us sleepless nights.. I don’t think that there is anyone of us, who are comfortable in what we are doing, will have sleepless nights. It is biased projection of news that gives us sleepless nights. 'It is passing of judgments without ascertaining facts and biased projection of reports that gives us sleepless nights. It is the individual slant that creeps into otherwise objective exercise that gives us sleepless nights. It is the new role that media has taken over that they will not only be the prosecutor but also the judge, that has given us sleepless nights’’, Omar asserted. He said 'you lose respect when you lose objectivity…when you sought not only to be the prosecutor but also passed judgment. There are numerous examples in the media today-both in print and electronic-where they have not only informed us about what is happening but also conditioned us as how we should react. But when their facts on the ground were different from what they had projected, the silence is almost deafening’’. Citing Norway incident of NRI children, Omar said 'I will try to point towards recent incident involving the children in Norway and sort of ‘Howah’ (hype) that was created in a section of media in term of how the Government should respond and how we should bring back our children. When suddenly the facts turned out and it was established as a messy domestic dispute, all those who were most vocal for bringing back the children, went completely quiet. I think that is where we make the mistake. We let our own personal beliefs, our own personal agenda direct the way the news is to be projected’’. 'He said no doubt the print media has challenges to face and the main challenge for it is instant news. 'Why some body wait for print media for next day to read news when they are available on mobile telephones. Even I on tweeter know what the newspapers are going to publish the next day. In order to meet this challenge and maintain popularity among readers, the print media has to prove prudent, vibrant, informative, educative and relevant’’, Omar said. He stressed the importance of newspapers reporting fair and objective news in the right perspective and said 'the passing of judgments without ascertaining facts and biased projection of reports and individual slants is the cause for sleepless nights'. The Chief Minister described the media as one of the important pillars of democracy and highlighted its impact on the minds of the people. Noting that national newspapers were not giving adequate coverage to Jammu and Kashmir, he said some of them were giving as low as just half a page to the entire State. He hoped that national papers would increase coverage of Jammu and Kashmir. Addressing the function, Governor N N Vohra, who also happened to be the Trustee of The Tribune stressed on fair and objective news reporting in newspapers. Welcoming valid criticism on issues of governance, public service delivery and protection of fundamental rights, Mr Vohra underlined the importance of news reporting and analysis done on the basis of facts. 'Your fair analysis of events can contribute to having a well informed citizenry,' the Governor said, adding that this can also help the leaders to visualise the course of future events. Mr Vohra said the role of media in a democracy is that of a watchdog. 'Like the Legislature, the print media has the responsibility of examining the performance of the executive and highlighting public issues,' he said. There has, however, been a growing trend, which shows media arriving at hasty conclusions and passing 'judgments' on varied issues, he said. The Governor expressed the hope that the media would strictly follow the practice of objective news reporting and balanced analysis of events. Like the Chief Minister, the Government also voiced concern over tremendous challenge posed to print media with the growth of IT sector. He hoped that the print media would maintain its relevance in the current scenario. Mr Vohra observed that the role of media in a democracy is that of a watchdog. 'Like the Legislature, the print media has the responsibility of examining the performance of the Executive and highlighting public issues', he said, adding that the reports in the media help in compelling the Governments to take action on issues relating to governance, human rights, fundamental rights and other matters of public interest. However, he added, any judgment about right and wrong must be left to those concerned, without jumping to hasty conclusions and pronouncing verdicts. Asserting that there has been a growing trend, over the past years, of the media arriving at hasty conclusions and passing judgments on varied issues, Mr Vohra expressed the hope that the practice of objective news reporting and balanced analysis of events will be strictly followed by the media. Justice (Retd) S. S. Sodhi, Trustee of The Tribune Trust, in his speech, gave historical background and growth of The Tribune during the past 131 years. He said that The Tribune has maintained objectivity in reporting of events, as was envisioned by S. Dayal Singh Majithia, its founder. Raj Chengappa, Editor-in-Chief, The Tribune, in his welcome address, said that Jammu Tribune has been launched with a view to give adequate coverage to the happenings in the region. Sanjay Hazari, General Manager, The Tribune Trust, presented the vote of thanks. S. S. Mehta and Naresh Mohan, Trustees of the Tribune Trust, also participated in the function.