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Media & Communal Riots

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  • 1. MEDIA
    AND
    COMMUNAL RIOTS
  • 2. The media is the conscience and voice of the society and should adopt self control and self discipline in order to perform its duties more efficiently and diligently
  • 3. SOMETIMES MEDIA SENSATIONALIZES ISSUES WHICH IS HARMFUL TO THE SOCIETY AS A WHOLE
    It should be responsive to the Society
    There should be a self imposed Code of Conduct in the larger interest of the society
    Censorship is harmful for the freedom of Press and media should not create a situation in which censorship become inevitable
    Self-imposed code of regulation is the need of the hour and anybody violating it should be dealt with stringently by the fraternity itself
  • 4. Remember:
    Facts are sacred and comment-free
    Get both sides of the story
    Check your facts before writing them
    But they are not enough in reporting communal riots . . .
  • 5. The guiding rules for reporters should be:
    Look for the background
    Don't perpetuate the stereotype
    Find residents who deal with both communities;
    Corroborate victims' accounts as well as police accounts
    Ascertain the role of the police, the politicians and the media
    Highlight stories where communities have helped each other
  • 6. Do not to name the communities involved (to prevent readers from getting worked up)
    Bland reports about two groups clashing and one place of worship being attacked are designed to leave readers of both communities in the dark, which is good in a way
    Reporting a communal event is as sensitive, delicate and challenging as the event itself
  • 7. When reported in the media, certain events assume and induce repercussion of national, and sometimes international, character
  • 8. The media, which enjoys the utmost freedom of expression, has a great and vital role to play in moulding public opinion on correct lines in regard to the need of friendly and harmonious relations between various communities and religious groups and thus promote national solidarity
  • 9. The media should not to distort, or exaggerate, should not employ intemperate, inciting and unrestrained language
    The local papers particularly should strictly adhere to this norm
  • 10. The role of media in such situations is to be peacemakers and not abettors, to be troubleshooters and not troublemakers
    Let the media play their noble role of promoting peace and harmony among the people in times of crises
    Any trend to disrupt the peace either directly or indirectly should be considered an anti-national act
  • 11. The media consider its reportage in the interest of the nation as a whole
  • 12. Any news report printed or published by the print media or relayed by the electronic media in contravention of ethical norms in reporting or commenting on matters pertaining to communal harmony is likely to invite penal action under the provisions of Section 295-A of the Indian Penal Code and allied provisions
  • 13. The Press Council by the norms set out, ordained the media to avoid sensational, provocative and alarming headlines, avoid details that might hurt religious sentiments; as also the reports that could undermine the people’s confidence in the maintenance and restoration of peace and law and order
  • 14. The importance of the media is in imparting to the citizens at large, information and analysis in a balanced and impartial manner
    The media, as a chronicle of tomorrow’s history, owes an undeniable duty to the future to record events as simple untailored facts
  • 15. In times crisis, facts unadorned and simply put, with due care and restraint, cannot be reasonably objected to in a democracy
    However, a heavy responsibility devolves on the author of opinion articles
    The journalist has to ensure that not only are his or her analysis free from any personal preferences, prejudices or notions, but also they are based on verified, accurate and established facts and do not tend to foment disharmony or enmity between castes, communities and races
  • 16. The prime objective of Press Council of India (PCI) is to awaken the press to the need for conforming to the highest ethical standards
    Even in its quasi-judicial role the Press Council does not don the mantle of a taskmaster
    Its aims not to punish but to act as a conscience keeper and advisor to provoke the media to introspect on the ethicality of its reportage
    This is possible, only if cooperation is extended from all quarters including the press in its own interest
  • 17. A greater onus lies in times of crisis on the regional media rather than the national media, in restoring the faith of the public in the law and order situation and encouraging communal harmony and amity
  • 18. The media should be well advised to give due consideration to the implications and impact of its coverage of this and similar instances when truth and factual accuracy alone cannot be the criterion to determine the suitability of a publication that could as well foment passions as douse them
  • 19. Norm 23 of the Guide to Journalistic Ethics, reproduced as follows:
    Photo-journalism is an important part of the print media. While intrusion through photography into personal grief likely to hurt sentiments or arouse communal passions, should be avoided, publication of photographs serving the larger public interest can not be termed as unethical or in bad taste
    At the same time, another norm (24 C of the Guide to Journalistic Ethics) advises the press to avoid mentioning the names of communities of the victims of the riots
  • 20. The editor should be vigilant in allowing the publication of photographs with the captions appended
    Actually, no hard and fast rules can be laid down in the matter and the editor has to allow his conscience to guide him up the path of ethical rectitude
    Reports and / or photographs that may directly or indirectly give away the identity of the victims / attackers should be avoided
  • 21. Cultural and religious symbols / images that may give away the identity of the victims or attackers should be avoided
  • 22. References:
    http://www.hvk.org/specialrepo/pci/index.html
    http://vibhutinarain.blogspot.com/2010/01/media-should-introspect-to-give-right.html
    http://infochangeindia.org/Agenda/Reporting-conflict/Reporting-communal-conflict.html
  • 23. Thank You
    SaurabhDeshpande