On Saturday, Barkha Dutt wrote a column in Hindustan Times, expressing concern that how bloggers can write anything including gossip (even about 'honourable people' and their private lives) and that the blogosphere functions without any watchdog.
She mentioned that how NDTV had refused to show a particular video clip but bloggers would not hesitate before uploading any footage. Though she is a reputed journalist, I feel that it was probably her own insecurity which she spelt out.
When mainstream media would not report news and simply go for sensationalism besides restricting itself to urban areas and refusing to accept its mistakes, who is going to expose them?
Either it is Khairlanjee killings or the Noida (Nithari) kidnappings & murders, media has proved to a be a farce. Nithari case accused Moninder Singh Pandher and Surinder Singh have reportedly confessed abusing and killing over 15 children, says NDTV, her own channel. (Moninder is an alumnus of St Stephen's College and was also a student of Bishop Cotton)
But it was not until these accused were caught and the reports were out that NDTV deputed its celebrity reporters to go to Nithari. The poor Bengali households that don't have ration cards, that have no clout or connections, were never on the priority radar of the Noida based channels until then.
The abysmal reporting done by channels in the recent past (there have been few exceptions) brings us to a situation where media has failed its prime duties. All departments have PROs and the journalists prefer the easy way--going for bytes, taking reports and analyzing them, remaining in urban areas and of course attending press conferences--so what about journalism? kabhi gaon mein bhi jaao yaar. It is only during election time when you ride with celebrity politicians for a visit to constituency.
Where is your watchdog? All the time you keep reporting frivolous things and waste precious primetime. You give a damn to sensibilities of viewers and show people getting killed, hanged (Saddam Hussein). Who questions you? We don't need watchdogs. You need it! As far as spicy stories and juicy gossips are concerned, there has always been a section of media and press also that publishes them.
And now Barkha visits Nithari like a bureaucrat on tour to village just like officials visit a place after tragedy or mishap. She has been an outstanding journalist but the celebrity journos must learn to accept criticism in healthy spirit and rather than blaming bloggers, first ensure a clean up in their own organisations.
If some blogs do that, they don't at least push it down anybody's throat unlike you who want to grab eyeballs, just whatever way you can. Bloggers have their own way of censorship and watchdogs also.
Good blogs survive, blogs that are not responsible don't. So please don't get excessively concerned about bloggers. Learn something from the Nithari tragedy. And appoint a watchdog for yourself. In any case, you like it or not, we will keep playing your watchdog.