Only the Media can save IndiaMarch 6, 2006
On Sunday(26/2/2006) evening, NDTV showed a program to get Justice for Jesicca lal whose murderers were recently acquitted by the court even though she was shot in front of over a hundred people. The people participating in the show were a supreme court lawyer and a judge and a deputy commisioner of police apart from another victim who had a case similar to that of Jesicca. Ex-miss India Shobha De and actress Preitty Zinta spoke for Jesicca from Bombay on television and the owners of the place where the murder took place, Bina and Shalini Ramani were speaking from Goa.Many finer points were contributed by all concerned in the program on how to prevent such a recurrence in the future.
Since then, the print media has also been persistently following up with a reference almost every day.It was heartening to see the media finally taking up the cudgles on behalf of the victim and play its real role as the watchdog .
The main issue is where do we go from here. What about the rest of us whose cases may not be high-profile or who may not get the attention of the media for one reason or another. This is the most glaring case of the dictum “Without danger, we cannot go beyond danger”. Things got completely out of hand in this case and the media was forced to take a stand though trials by the media are generally deemed undesirable.
This brings to mind the opt repeated statement that “Public memory is very short” and everybody forgets once the issue goes on the backburner. The issue here is -why does the media let it get on the backburner in the first place? Is the role of the media confined merely to highlight the wrongs without seeing to it that there is redressal? A couple of years ago I read in a weekly newsmagazine how prominent politicians were occupying bungalows which they should have vacated after losing power. There was no follow-up after that till one fine morning one read about the governer of Bihar being forced to vacate. The media should have a page at the back of their publications “Issues unresolved” in which such issues should be mentioned. In corporate management, one is constantly told to follow-up. Why can’t the media follow up?
Talking of mangement reminds me of the concept of goals. There are umpteen number of workshops conduting people teaching the importance of having proper goals to the extent that even students should be habituated early in life about setting goals in all spheres of personal life- family, health, social life, financial independence etc. I even learnt from once consultant that daily goals were too restricting while having monthly goals made one a little careless but weekly goals were the best- they could be set realistically set and achieved. This was in the individual’s context. I have never understood that why there are no goals for politicians. You elect somebody, he sets no goals for himself and you can’t do a damn thing for five years if he does not perform properly whereas in management one would be kicked out in a very short time frame if there was a slip-up in performance. Why can’t there be goals for each member of parliament in each constituency and why can’t the media follow-up and see to it that they are fulfilled. This would be good for politicians themselves in the long run.Its a win-win situation for everybody.
Mrs Shobha de mentioned in the program that if the Judiciary also became corrupt, all hell would break lose. Everybody knows that cases get delayed and “Justice delayed is justice denied ” is more a rule than exception in India. From a common man’s perspective, how does it matter because as far as he is concerned whether it is lack of efficiency or corruption, he has to suffer. Why can’t the media get after the root cause?-how cases get delayed in the first place because that is the root cause of all the mess. People are scared of the courts because the remedy is worse than the disease.
I have heard cases of judicial corruption but not experienced them myself. However there is one type of corporate corruption that is very common. Many suppliers of raw-materials are always scared that their payment shall be held up. Recently, a friend told me how demeaning he found to almost go begging for payments. Many are scared to increase the volume of their business because if payments get stuck , they stand to lose more. In the United states, there is a credit history of a person which one can check on the payment of a nominal sum. There, nobody fools around with his credit rating because the whole system operates on credit and he would stay nowhere if his credibility in this respect were questionedor lost. Why can’t such a system be followed in India? On one hand the finance minister talks on business matters at “Davos” but if the basics are not right, how bright are the chances are success. Here again, the businessman is scared ot the law because it takes its own sweet time.
This Jesicca case has set a good precdent. Some elements in the media have earned a bad name in recent times because of sensationalizing issues.Why can’t the media do good work by highlighting and speaking up on behalf of the common man as it has done in this case. There must be thousands of such cases. A discussion forum can be created on the internet on each issue and then cases can be tackled case by case. Having talk shows without followup on discussion forums is efficiency without effectiveness. Only the media can make things totally transparent and effect a “Dood ka dood, aani ka paani”.
Congratulations to both NDTV and whoever took up the cause.Talent and motives are more important than the tool and now it can finally be said that the informtion revolution and mass communication revolutions have been successful.