Media in Hisar: A hostage to self-image

Media should stop behaving like little sissy boys, always complaining and expecting some sort of special treatment

bikram

Bikram Vohra | November 20, 2014


Baba Rampal followers staging a protest outside Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on November 18.
Baba Rampal followers staging a protest outside Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on November 18.

Indian Media’s self absorption with itself and the canopy of importance under which it dwells has changed a great deal in the half century since we became journalists. This was profoundly discernible in the coverage of the Hisar ‘hostage’ situation at Baba Rampal’s citadel of dishonour when the fate of 15,000 civilians and an army of policemen facing their hostility was sidelined like one of those shunting trains for the stellar show of the evening called, “Look, look, the media is being beaten.”

Certainly all violence must be abhorred and unprovoked or not deserves to be condemned. There, having said that, a journalist stays with his story. He doesn’t use his power to sell himself, bloodstained or not. He reports.

To leave the story you are covering and make your pain central to the issue is an arrogance that borders on an absurd concept that the press is above the law and is parked on a pedestal.

These journalists were in a war zone. They were coming in the line of fire. They were interfering in an ongoing operation that had already run up casualties.

You want a Pultizer, go for it but take the risk of coming against some bad boys.

In many parts of the world where hot spots are flaring journalists risk their lives for a good story or even a singular photograph which speaks a thousand words.

They are embedded, they hear shells firing, they take on mortar fire and sometimes they get killed. They also get captured and gutted.

But they do not use their channels to blather on and on about a broken arm or some crushed equipment.

We were taught no one helps you with your job. I have covered wars and air crashes, been shot at, hit a mine, and gone into forbidden zones and taken the chance scared out of my mind, only the hubris of youth allowing me to do things I would not do now. But we never cried about it, we followed our story. That is all there was. We were never the story.

But this new ‘midddya’ approach baffles me. They are like little sissy boys always moaning and complaining and expecting some sort of special treatment. Why?

Somewhere there has to be a balance between the watchdogs and their role as protectors.

You want to be a reporter, you report, stop moaning. Take that risk.
 

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