Barely 6 to 8 months after my graduation, I landed a plum job in a regional daily as a correspondent. It was plum, not because it was a high-pay job, but because with that kind of a profile I felt very astute and garnered some kind of clout in the neighborhood. The salary was an absolute pittance; ‘twas far lesser than the reluctantly shelled out pocket money from my father. (I am not whining dad, you have always given me more than what I actually deserve. I will always owe you.Love you!)
Where, when and what was the name of that regional daily is something I am not very comfortable to let drop and it would appear very inane after so long, besides bringing disrepute to individuals and the organization. I was also a novice with no credentials for a handsome pay packet to ride on me.
Anyways, why I am writing this, is to bring forth a point, around something, which is making the rounds these days in India.
Can we really call the press (of which I was a part once upon a time) as Presstitutes? When Rtd. Gen. VK Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs referred to them as Presstitutes, he trampled the tail of a highly sensitive media which is going bonkers at such a highly retrograde comment.He was visibly upset the way media represented his valiant efforts to bring in Indian workers from war stricken Yemen and facilitating a safe passage.
I am not taking sides.
There are, in every profession, the dedicated workers and the infant terrible. So is the media. The problem arises when there is a voluminous presence of the later.
During my brief stint as a journalist, I was privy to all the trappings of being a journo. As a young lad freshly out of college I thoroughly enjoyed those press meets and the after parties. The license to brush shoulders with top brass in the power corridor, the celebrities and the newsmakers was too thrilling to be ignored.
So, what was the point I drove home, after, all those meetings, conferences and interviews with prominent personalities? It was a jittery feeling, that all is not well behind the scene in the media fraternity. I was too perturbed by the fact that a majority of the scribes were not what people perceive them to be. They are a far cry from the idealistic writings they are credited the bylines to.
They write to appease, promote and push some highly partisan views sans any truth. All those hype, hoopla and hyperbole are from some tail wagging, salivating crooks dancing to the tune of a master orchestrator. It is macabre, sheer conundrum.
But there are also some who had laid down their lives while upholding their ideals and write selflessly for a larger cause. They are what they preach. Despite being poorly paid and having to struggle to make both ends meet, they never compromise with their ideologies. It is an injustice when deserving treatment is not meted out to them, in every sphere. It is because of those writers why we can say that a book is a man’s best friend.
So, Presstitutes are not those who are honest and work for the betterment of the society but those whose strings are at the hands of the corrupt and who writings are an embodiment of their genuflection.