Media censorship?

By Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)
18 January 2012 00:01 IST

The Election Commission of India appears to be heading for press censorship by taking extreme steps in implementing the election code of conduct. The intention could be sincere, but not the methods it is adopting. This was the impression when the local EC officials convened a meeting to brief the media persons, including its marketing team, about Paid News and other media related issues.

In fact the local ECI office needs to be lauded for the alertness with which it is keeping close watch to curb the menace of paid news, in the print or electronic media. As a result, the media has become overcautious unlike last Assembly election, when most of the leading newspapers were full of paid news. Not that ECI can take any penal action against the media, but the credibility does count. Also, the candidate has a fear of getting disqualified.

However, the ECI, without having proper clarity, is taking drastic steps in curbing everything, including a pre-poll survey. The ECI took a right step to stop broadcast of a survey without authenticating its methodology, number of samples and the agency who conducted it. But its stand that no question like “who is your favourite as the chief minister” or “which party would get maximum seats” should be asked is absurd.

What is wrong if an authentic agency conducts a survey in a scientific manner and publishes its findings without creating any divide in the society on the grounds of race, religion or caste as well as any hatred towards any community? Aren’t people supposed to voice out which candidate they prefer or whom they want of which party as the chief minister? Survey, ultimately, is bound to create an opinion about several issues prevailing in the society. Election is the only and a right forum to express such opinions and media is the platform for it.

In a similar manner, every candidate, every party and every citizen has to voice out their opinions. Media is the best available platform for it. But, then, media has to be impartial while doing it. It certainly cannot suppress one opinion and be biased towards the other. If it happens, the ECI has to act; but not otherwise. And it certainly cannot stretch their powers to the extent of suppressing the right to express, enshrined in the Constitution of India.

The ECI is right when it says that the media, rather than going into the technicalities and legalities, should exercise self-restraint and provide an unbiased platform for everybody during election. The same spirit is also expected from the Election Commission of India, to exercise self-restraint and not take extra-ordinary powers in its hands. We respect the constitutional competence of the election commission. The election commission is also expected to do the same – respect its constitutional competence. Please don’t go overboard! 

Blogger's Profile

Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)

Sandesh Prabhudesai is the Editor of goanews.com. He has been earlier the Editor of Sunaparant (Konkani daily) and Editor-in-Chief of Pruden (TV channel). His collection of selective editorials of Sunaparant has been published as 'Goff'. He writes brief thoughts as EdiThought for goanews.com, but not on regular basis.

Drop a comment

Enter The Code Displayed hereRefresh Image


Previous Comments

The media has abdicated all responsibility as the "Fourth Estate" of the "Fourth Pillar of Democracy". Various sections of it, including the "sacrosanct" print media have been sold to bidders for sums ranging from pittances to fortunes. Some editors are treating Goa as a "Treasure Island", just the same as bureaucrats and police officers from Delhi, who come to Goa to seemingly enjoy life and make pots of money while at it. The way the press is taking the people of Goa for a ride, it is high time the readers/viewers stopped exercising self-restraint.

- Dilip Prabhudesai, Margao | 18 th January 2012 08:17

 

Related Blogs