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World Press Freedom Day 2022: Journalists explain the importance of ‘Information as a Public Good’

‘Journalism under digital siege’ – Theme of World Press Freedom Day 2022 is what the Indian Media Needs to Learn

India, on paper, is one of the countries that allow a lot of freedom to journalists and media professionals. With the right to freedom of speech and Expression, along with Article 19 (1), Indian media is allowed to have the right to access absolute press freedom. But what’s on paper is not always true. According to Reporter’s without Border’s Report, India has been in the 142nd position according to World Press Freedom Index for the last two years and been consistently sliding from 2016, when it had 133rd rank.

 And when we saw World Press Freedom Day 2022 today, on 3rd May, we felt like addressing the position of India as one of the most dangerous countries to practice journalism. And as the theme of this World Press Freedom Day is ‘Journalism under digital siege’ it becomes more necessary to identify what are the gaps in Indian Media.

Read More: Is COVID hitting your ‘Surge Capacity’, the Ability to deal with acutely stressful situations?

We spoke to young journalists about the value of Information, press freedom, and how media professionals hold the responsibility to spread information.

Parul Shrivastava explains: Information as a Public Good and how Journalists need to understand the responsibility of spreading the right information

Information is one of the most valuable resources and journalists and media professions are certainly the ones who find and tell the information. As a Journalist, it is important to understand the power of imparting the right information to the public. Our job is to report events without any distortion in facts. Media is a powerful tool. There are a lot of people who consume news and form their opinions based on the reports and facts they watch. In that case, it is important that the right information should come out. India has a large young population and inducing wrong information can trigger anger and panic amongst the audience.

Okay, not all, but let’s be honest, a lot of Journalists scream headlines regardless of their importance.  Press Freedom these days is used for inducing fear and panic. Also, the voyeuristic content has taken over. This culture is toxic, Media cannot question anyone anywhere. This must stop and it should be focused on reporting the events and happenings that matter to common people
Parul is working in the industry for the last 5 years and is now the Assistant Editor of the organization. Knowing from her experience and observation, “as a journalist, our work is to report events happening around us. No manipulation, no biased opinion, and no distorted facts. We need critical minds for critical situations. People who can impart information that matters to the public! Sadly, we are only being injected with a particular type of information.
Simply put, “We are being shown things that have nothing to with Public interest.” It is not about blaming the entire group but I am talking about a large section of the Media in our country.  Talking about the current situation in India, there is a huge difference between the coverage of the Covid crisis by Indian Media and by the Global Media. Be it headlines or reports, Indian Media is hitting a new low with each passing year. Clearly, there is something that has to be changed.

“Information has become a means of survival more so than ever. And amid this we expect it to be more accurate than ever. We are constantly required to question our sources. Any move based on what we get through media has to be factually correct and scientifically proven. At this juncture of time, it is about life and the media is responsible for each statement that it passes related to covid.
But obviously the failure from the part of govt. is being diluted by media and a lot of tasks are being organized around echoing positivity no matter how much bigotry been spread by the same media over years. I feel media is inherently negative and flickering from which would cost a lack of seriousness about the pandemic by the masses. I wonder what if things were unreported for the sake of maintaining the positivity, I guess we all would have been roaming around.” – Shaily Mishra, independent Journalist published in multiple National and International Media organizations.

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Ishika Aggarwal

Can write, shoot, listen, talk and procrastinate. A feminist at heart, Ishika is an avid writer and multimedia person who loves talking about women, realism, and society. When not working she is either seen watching films or making one.
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