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Freedom, Conflict, and Journalism

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The media works with organisations and they together form civil society. Further, reality is often mediated through the media. It is only based on the information provided by the media; people make a choice. If people do not get enough information, their choice will not be an informed one. So the rights of journalists are important to fearlessly report events of diverse nature. For instance, hundreds of journalists have been reported missing and have been killed globally. With the poverty, unemployment and terrorism to establish a social system, journalists are under tremendous pressure. By and large, media has been playing a responsible role.

Media should highlight efforts towards freedom, and development and downplay events that escalate conflict. One may call this advocacy journalism. But that is how journalism has to function in a situation. The anti-media group always accusations of independent journalists being not responsible, and the accusations of journalists siding with the one side would cease if journalists pay more attention towards peace building rather than sensational conflicts, speaking to this scribe, Dr. I Arul Aram, said. We are passing through an important phase. Only development can bring forth an egalitarian society, empower citizens to practise democracy and help integrate into the mainstream. The problems cannot be big if there is a will to solve them. There is an overwhelming public support for democracy and development.

Civil society must continue to pressure the society to start negotiations, Dr. Arul further argued. Dr. Arul has authored the book 'Television in Education' (Orient Longman 1993) and has edited a book on e-governance (AMIC 2002). Globally, the system did not allow scope to address the problems arising out of issues of identity and cultural rights. The development movement through media that believes to uplift the poor.

Democracy is certainly an achievement but people need to be empowered to take advantage of the democratic polity. This is a slow process. Democracy will throw up journalist with more representative character. A negotiation depends on a give and take. Or else, the options are (i) rapid development.

He moderates a vibrant e-group mostly of youngsters, the Indian Online Media Forum further said, "In a developing country, the government has a large share in development. But the government should be committed and be devoid of corruption. Also, tendency of governance to centralize and the lack of focus on development are sustaining conflict. Given the topography, we have to depend on local governments for effective governance. On the other hand, journalist could take up business and economic interest. They could also promote cultural exchanges and educational programmes between the countries to strengthen relationship and promote prosperity. So can they focus more on the social-service sector. "We should not fail to see factors underlying the conflict. Media should try to understand what are the faults in the society? This is easy said than done. We should not waste time in reaching across to poor people living in abject poverty," he said.

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Journalist, poet and editor Kamala Sarup works at the Cape Collection. Kamala specializes in reporting news and writing stories covering journalism, Peace, Public health, Democracy, Women/Children, development, justice and economic development. (more...)

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