Thursday, November 17, 2011

EDITORIAL Press and Admn: A Dialogue is Must


Press and Admn: A Dialogue is Must

The relation between local media - print media, to be specific, and the administration has hit the nadir once again last week. National Press Day was celebrated at two places - Official one at Diglipur with government controlled media and small newspapers association at Port Blair. They also registered protest in front of Secretariat.
Administration’s newsletter, The Daily Telegrams is its captive instrument. It is not permitted to see through its own eyes or listen through its ears. It has to repeat 'His Master's Voice'. Only Mr. I.P Gupta, former Lt. Governor had granted it the liberty to write editorials, publish Letters to the Editor and comment on the performances of departments. The team had shown its mettle and proved its worth. That is not what the newsletter is meant for; hence, it reverted to its official function. The local media does not have reason to comment on how the administration uses its baby.  
The Doordarshan and All India Radio are again government media. Even so, sometime they get into stimulating discussions without any bar. The tone might not be strident though. And, Administration now and then tries to wield control on them.
In fact, it has all along been an uneasy relationship with the press and the administration. The officers and the administrators come from places that are fully exposed to media. They might have had to deal with it - often with adverse and aggressive ones too. They however, acquire a different mindset on reaching here.
In stark contrast, the central government departments, particularly, defence, have no problems with the local press. They conduct regular press conferences and interactions at regular intervals.    
It however, takes two to make a clap. The local media too have to do a little soul searching before putting the entire blame on the administration. They too are found wanting in their reporting and coverage, one might say. Critical reporting needs a delicate handling. Public trials without giving a chance to the accused, not only tarnishes the image of the individual but also lowers the prestige of the fourth estate. The media have, off course, their own arguments. However, the net result is a deadlock that must be broken in the interest of both the media and the administration.
The administration is aware of the ground reality. The Information & Publicity Division under the Tourism Director does not have much to harp about. Like any other section of the society, media too is in its infancy. There is a need to look into the demands of the newspaper industry and if possible, a dialogue must start. And start soon!

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