The Role of Media in Combating Communalism in India

New Delhi, 14 Nov 2014:
On November 14, a Convention On “The Role of Media in Combating Communalism in India”  jointly organized by Urdu daily Roznama Siyasat Mail and United Press Club – Uttar Pradesh at Constitution Club,New Delhi to honour late Captain Abbas Ali, an associate of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia.

“The profession of journalism needs an ideology. Now it is market driven journalism. Mahatma Gandhi did not start Harijan newspaper to earn money but spread consciousness among people. But a media house cannot be run on the basics of ideology but only TRP,” said  Mohammad Adeeb,member of Rajya Sabha.Recalling an incident Mr. Adeeb said that once there was a very serious debate – one of the best in his career as a parliamentarian- going inside the parliament on the role of judiciary. Arun Jaitley, now finance minister and Kapil Sibal then from the ruling party Congress along with P Chidambaram gave wonderful arguments on the issue.“But as I went out after taking part in the debate a reporter of a reputed TV channel asked me how a particular Bollywood actress, who was also a Rajya Sabha member looking in Saari,” Adeeb recalled pointing out the decline in the profession of journalism.

Senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Gopal Rai said that it is not fair to expect the media to be the only source of positivism when the entire society is on the verge of decline, even as he asked the national newspapers to play role to spread positive nationalism.
Senior Janata Dal (United) leader KC Tyagi was of the opinion that “first a debate should be done on the role of media in spreading the venom of communalism then on its role in combating communalism.” He expressed concern that the news about farmers issues, minimum support price for farm produce, violence on Dalits and minorities have been completely blacked out my the mainstream media.

Editor of Roznama Siyasat Mail Ameeque Jamei exhorted the media to play a positive role in development of society and appealed to journalist to use their pen to stop the triumphant march of communalism and communal politics in the country.

Echoing similar concerns, Dr Abdullah Abdullah, former president management committee Shibli College Azamgarh said “Now it is a trade, a business and news information is collected in a way to cater to the interest of the market. The information is not to spread awareness about what is right or wrong but with an aim to sell as a product.”“There is a need for creation of an alternative media. The present media organizations will not reform as they are already sold out. Only social media can play a constructive role if it is organized properly,” he said.

Noted Urdu scribe Qurban Ali, who had a long stint with BBC observed that “Media and newspaper can be used to manipulate political power,” in an apparent reference to the role of media in giving a virtual push to the campaign of Narendra Modi led Bhartiya Janata Party during the just concluded general elections. Ali is the son of late Captain Abbas Ali.Ali recalled an incident of December 1990 when during the heightened communal tension in the country in the backdrop of Ram Mandir movement, virtually the entire western Uttar Pradesh was under grip of curfew.