Downgrading a Profession

Gone are the days of serene and sophisticated debates
"As there was no mobile and internet facility available, we both used to sit in SHRC for hours only to collect order copies and press releases of the commission."  [Representational Image]
"As there was no mobile and internet facility available, we both used to sit in SHRC for hours only to collect order copies and press releases of the commission." [Representational Image] encoreleaders [Creative Commons]

Time is changing and with it the people living across globe; their life-style. Our rich culture, tradition, custom during last three decades have been influenced and now it is a critical point for the people living in the Paradise.

In present era we feel proud that we are living in digital world where everything is on fingers.

We can call anybody from our mobile phone at any time, we can text a message, and can transfer money at any time, we can send documents in any part of the world via E-mail, we can talk to many people at a time.

But  equally what  we lost during last three decades; respect for our teachers, parents, Elders, care and love for each other, communal harmony, brotherhood, and above all our family values. Digital and social media platforms have influenced our life.

We are in a world full of digital technology and growing fast in every sector, but today parents are disturbed that what have been left for their posterity.

Digital technology gave us convenience and comfort but has taken away peace of mind? We are clinging to social media due to which we miss social gatherings not only of our family and friends but even we miss to attend the funeral of our nears and dears. We might have physical relief but every human being is living under tremendous stress.

Digital technology impacted all sections of life. In 1990s we relied on Doordarshan, the only mode of entertainment as well communication. We witnessed nice debates, discussions, public awareness programmes, serials, telefilms and News. Prominent personalities, known intellectuals used to be invited during these programmes.

Quality of news and programmes was high, and all family members used to watch television together. In the year 2000, private news and entertainment channels came to fore, and soon a plethora of them, with the support of corporate world, came into existence. The journalistic ethics were compromised and we witnessed a downward trend in debates and discussions.

With the advent of internet, hundreds of YouTube and Facebook news channels were introduced by individuals and groups. These channels have created confusion everywhere. There was a public demand that these channels should be under a proper monitoring system, but the Government failed to put in place some system.

A Public Interest Litigation was filed by Civil Society Group (J&K Peoples Forum) in the High Court of J&K and Ladakh against the fake journalists and unregistered news portals. The Hon’ble High Court has directed the administration to finalise the guidelines for electronic media with proper monitoring system but more than six months have passed and administration has yet to take any decision.

It is said that change is always good but there should not be any compromise on quality and deliverance. Media has to bridge the gap between administration and public, and should raise genuine grievances of public.

We can use better communication for enhancement of coverage so that we can represent downtrodden in the society. We can’t forget the services and sacrifices of those Journalists who during their life fought with courage, and professionalism. Today we are all saddened at the deterioration of standards in this profession.

In Sep1993 when I started my carrier as a Journalist, it was the most horrific period of turmoil in the valley. Journalists were soft targets of violence a good number of journalists were assassinated from the year 2000.

To carry out professional activities in those times was very difficult; even my parents advised me to quit and switch over to some other job, as I was an Engineering Graduate. I refused, and moved on. I pursued my Post-Graduation in Mass Com & Journalism.

During the year 1997, Government of J&K established many commissions. J&K State Human Rights Commission was also incepted under the chairmanship of retired High Court Judge G.R. Kuchay.

State Government provided them accommodation in Hotel Dawn Buchwara in which I already was hiring some rooms for my office. After one week when employees and members were deputed for SHRC, I received a message from Late Justice Kuchay to meet him in his office.

I visited his chamber and he requested me to help their commission to translate official orders and Press Releases in Urdu language for local daily papers as well as for Radio and Doordarshan.

I was not aware about the subject well so he advised me to visit their commission daily for proceedings. I assisted the commission on number of cases and even myself filed more than hundred cases on different issues like: hike in airfare during peak season, spurious drugs, orphans in valley, death of patients during doctors’ strike in  valley, hike in salary of imams of state, hike in school fee, Unani doctors  practicing allopathic medicines, illegal dumping of garbage by SMC, seat reservation for ladies in public transport etc.

Few years later a young journalist  Aarif Shafi Wani joined me in State Human Rights Commission as correspondent for Greater Kashmir. As there was no mobile and internet facility available, we both used to sit in SHRC for hours only to collect order copies and press releases of the commission.

Local reporters of other daily papers and national dailies used to wait for us in Press Colony Srinagar to get photocopy of the orders. It was a tough time for everyone to wait and collect the copy without any prior information or notice, but the passion made us survive. It was a twenty year bond with SHRC.

Like other parts of the country, in J&K journalism got a hit due to unprofessional coverage of events. Social media has particularly been the culprit. It is the collective responsibility of administration to take stern action against those elements who use this medium for creating confusion in public.

Author is a Senior Journalist and Human Rights Activist.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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