Me and you: Let’s be citizen journalists

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By: SANJAY VERSAIN

Today all media organizations are selling news like vegetables, offering whatever appeases the audience or the reader. (Is it really so?) We talk about America inventing embedded journalism but if we carefully look within our own setup, we will find that we too have been practicing the same kind of journalism to some extend.

Yesterday, I was talking to a journalist from Himachal and he told me that scribes generally don’t ask any uncomfortable questions to the government in the state and are happy with official press notes. And he was equally baffled about the reason as was I. A minute later, I asked him why the government was now backtracking in the Rs 30,000 crore Manali ski village that was to be developed by a US company. He said that there were some problems with the agreement and the company had a dubious reputation. Then did the journalists write about that? “There was nothing to be written about it,” he said. I got my answer but I wonder whether he did or not.

Are we really free and fare in reporting? Perhaps not. But I guess journalists can be excused for their carelessness or even intended vilification of the media. But I am saddened to see the indifference common citizens of this country show towards everything around them. Not many seem to be concerned how their immediate society would shape up by the time they grow old. In fact, things are changing at such a rate that tomorrow will never be the same as today.

Media has turned a full circle. In western countries and in parts of Asia, people are successfully practicing citizen journalism. Being aware citizens, they are reporting, analyzing and interpreting events for themselves through various mediums. But India is yet to see such a revolution. I am waiting for the day…

This Him Vani group (earlier known as clubinfonet) has been in existence for some five years now, and going through past posts, I have inferred that every month we get around 50 messages. The good thing is almost all are informative. But I believe, the time has come for us to be more proactive and take deeper interest in the affairs of the state. May be, we can be pioneers of the empowerment of citizens in this country.

If my words have any meaning, may I request you all (the dormant members too) to please post meaningful messages more often in this group. Express your opinion on anything relating to the state and I am sure we can build enough public opinion in time to positively influence development in the state.

Let each of us pledge to post at least two messages per week.

That is the least we can do.

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