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Criticism must be constructive

  By Vijay Darda | 20-05-2012

Media & Politicians TUG OF WAR!

My book ‘Straight Thoughts’ attempts to review contemporary issues, problems and also personalities and I have put up my views without any fear or favour in articles carried in the book. I know the importance of adopting a firm stand and I have done it on several occasions even though it resulted into attacks on my newspaper’s offices and copies of my newspaper being burnt. These incidents only added to my zeal and even after being a politician, the  journalist in me was never overshadowed. In fact my resolve to write fearlessly became more firm with each such incident.

Whenever we talk of relationship between media and politicians, it does not necessarily mean that we talk about the hostility or acrimony in their relationship. However, it is also important that both parties should take a stand of constructive criticism while commenting about the other. If that does not happen, then mutual courtesy from both sides starts eroding and the relationship becomes strained. 

When we talk about gradual depletion of tolerance, patience and capacity to face criticism among politicians, we also must know who these leaders are, who unnecessarily get angry with media. The real leaders who have mass support never lose patience and never take criticism on personal level. But with the change of time, leadership qualities also have changed and I divide them in three categories. First one is called ‘Circuit’. Politicians belonging to this category are stationed permanently on Circuit Houses’ gates with a garland in hand. Whenever a leader arrives they promptly offer him a floral welcome and arrange everything for making their leaders stay comfortable. Adopting this route, they soon become politicians themselves. 

The second category is called ‘Supplement’. Party workers belonging to this category issue advertisement supplements to newspapers to celebrate the birthdays/anniversaries of their leaders and get their photographs published in newspapers along with their leaders. This way they themselves become leaders. The third category consists of true leaders who have mass support and also have leadership qualities. 

Now tell me, how can we expect courteous and mature behaviour from politicians who have become leaders by adopting first two routes, ie Circuit and Supplement? The same is true with media houses — both print and electronic. Both have to do a lot of introspection. In media also some people publish news items through personal bias and not conforming to newspaper policy. How can such journalism be termed as journalism of constructive criticism? 

No media owner can stop an editor if he or she is publishing news or editorial content criticising the government in larger public interest. But today even media business is flooded with people from other business fields and they have started running newspapers and news channels. Some of these new entrants have brought bad name to the entire media. 

Maharashtra has always maintained a balance between ideological differences and personal relationships. There can be no reason for clash of interests between media and politicians, if we continue to maintain this balance in future.


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