Journalists get demoralised and lose faith in the profession when a story into which they have put in a lot of hard work, is not published by the media organisation for which they work, Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana said on Tuesday.
The CJI, who had been a scribe for a brief while before he entered legal profession, said that many a time a brilliant story filed by a journalist, after taking risks and putting in a lot of hard work and energy, is “killed at the desk.”
“It is thoroughly demoralizing for a genuine journalist. You cannot blame him or her, if they encounter such situations repeatedly and lose faith in the profession,” said the CJI.
He was speaking at the release of the book ‘Geeta Vigyan Upanishad’ authored by Gulab Kothari.
In his speech, the CJI Ramana stressed on the importance of independent journalism as a backbone of democracy, stating that journalists are the eyes and ears of the people.
“It is the responsibility of media houses to present facts. Especially in the Indian social scenario, people still believe that whatever is printed is true. All I want to say is that the media must confine itself to honest journalism without using it as a tool to expand its influence and business interests,” said the CJI.
The CJI also highlighted the “huge lacuna” in systemic support for journalists in India.
“Unfortunately, we still do not have an award which is comparable to the Pulitzer, and neither do we produce many Pulitzer winning journalists in India. I urge upon all the stake holders to introspect as to why our standards are not considered good enough for international recognition and laurels,” said the CJI.
The CJI also stated that it is important for all to critically engage with the texts we read, question the books we read, the people who write them, and refuse to blindly accept the information that we encounter.
“A well-informed and rational citizenry is crucial for healthy development of the nation,” the CJI underlined.
A few days back the CJI had berated media for running Kangaroo courts and conducting media trial on sub-judice matters, thereby, making the job of judges difficult and adversely affecting the justice delivery system.
He had said that by running agenda-driven debates, media was overstepping and breaching its responsibility and taking democracy two steps backwards.
In this regard, he was particularly critical of electronic media which he said has zero accountability.
“Print media still has certain degree of accountability. Whereas, electronic media has zero accountability as what it shows vanishes into thin year. Still worse is social media,” he had said while delivering the inaugural ‘Justice SB Sinha Memorial Lecture’ on the topic “Life of a Judge”, organised by National University of Study & Research in Law, Ranchi. (Bar and Bench)