NEWS : Then and Now

Back in the days… Gone are the days when NEWS was considered an essential commodity. Long before the technological and industrial revolution took place, the journalists” of the time also yearned to report everything that happened around them. They probably traveled far and wide to witness what was happening and then painstakingly wrote the details. They printed papers on rickety presses. NEWS traveled on foot, door to door. Then came the era of the radio waves, it was again a rare commodity – one radio for a whole neighborhood. The hungry minds that craved information couldn’t just pick up a reader’s digest off the shelf. They couldn’t let Google take them on virtual journeys to places far away. They had to wait patiently, adjust the frequency numerous times before getting the best sound quality and wait for broadcast to begin. I can imagine a father going, “Shhh!” as he motions with hands for his children to quit running around the house. He goes, “it is about to begin!” What a joy it must have been to be able to relay information to masses back in those days, the most important reason being that it wasn’t easy to do as it is now. I imagine that both the relayers and the receivers of information handled it with great responsibility. The transmission was probably brief, to the point and ended without handing out an opinion.
But a pen being greater a weapon than the sword; its offensive use was inevitable.
A Brief history of Journalism in India The advent of newspapers took place in India with the editorship of James Hicky in 1780, with the Bengal Gazette. Hicky adopted the policy of neutrality during the initial phase of his editorship. As he learned about the rise of a rival newspaper, the Bengal Gazette became his tool to accuse the supporters of the rival – the Indian Gazette. Although the Bengal Gazette may or may not have stayed true to its original purpose, it paved the way for the rise of many local and national newspapers in Bengal and the rest of the country. The offense of the ink sparked the fire of nationalism and independence in India. Particularly noteworthy in this regard are the Hindu Patriot and Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s Kesari. Another important newspaper finds its origin in this era -the Bombay Times, now known as The Times of India. History testifies to how the fair and virtuous use of print media facilitated the free movement of our country. Questions worth asking It is of considerable debate whether the news media now handles information with the same sense of responsibility as people did in the past. One could ask whether the media has been a facilitating force that once helped set free our Nation?
 Has media become a means of propagating one opinion over the other and one government over the other? Has it travelled the lengths of time and distance to bring the truth to our notice, or has it conveniently painted a picture of what they would like us to believe.
Honest journalism holds a key to build up a Nation. It is meant to reveal the truth, to ask the right questions and to unite a Nation. The sad reality is that we can rarely find it in our world. The technological advances make news readily available and easy to manipulate. Honest journalism has often sprung up but not yet thrived in our country.  Until it does, we should be questioning every bit of information being relayed to us. We hold the gauntlet to differentiate between the lies and the truth, between fake and the facts.   Featured image: