The reporting in both the print and the visual media has undergone a sea change with the advent of new age journalism. Apart from reporting and live coverage, the detailed discussions which make a threadbare analysis of each and every event of a particular day especially in the visual media has appealed to the masses.
The visual media, both national as well as the regional, have been experimenting with new programmes, political satires have been one of the favourites among them. The animated visuals of the politicians dancing in electoral victories, challenging their political adversaries, the hiding behind the veil after electoral setbacks are all usual in the news channels. The print media too carves out its own niche with political satire, well written and conveying a strong message to the readers.
The Social media on the other hand comes with what is termed as “troll” wherein none is spared, the use of old film dialogues and images are rampant in trolling the personalities who occupy news. Whatever sea change the media has undergone, one aspect is fundamental which is the ethical use of the space, this is an added responsibility the media has to discharge.
It is in this context, the latest episode of Political satire of Manorama Channel named Thiruva Ethirva emerges significance. The Political satire focussed on the elevation of Shri. Kummanam Rajashekharan, as the Governor of Mizoram. During the said programme, the BJP National President Shri. Amit Shah is also shown as addressing press and a Malayalam audio clip is played to fit his address, Shri Amit Shah’s portrayal and the selective fitting and manipulation of the video and audio clip gives a right thinking man the impression that he is saying “Every Dog has a day”. There is no roving enquiry needed to understand what message was intended to be passed on, Shri Rajashekharan’s elevation was the topic under discussion. The widespread condemnation of the programme is a pointer to the fact that no satire would be digested if it is devoid of decency and ethics. The differences in political thought and ideology often invites stringent criticism from various quarters and in a democracy, the ideas have to clash essentially but demeaning a Constitutional head in such a derogatory manner speaks volumes of the erosion of ethics of those brains who orchestrated it. It has always been the practice to focus on the individuals academics, milestones in life journey, achievements in organisational career and criticisms as well, whenever somebody is elevated to a prime position. The Politics of the person never comes in the way of appreciating the achievement; the beauty of our democracy always lies in this acceptance and appreciation, cutting across the political differences.
Here, the Constitutional Head of a government, was subjected to ridicule through this programme, the slander and libel brought down the reputation of the Constitutional post and its occupant. The reputation of a person is not the gift of any organisation, nobody has the right to pass innuendos which they think fit’s the occasion, the same applies to media as well as individuals. The right to freedom of speech and expression as guaranteed by the Constitution comes with certain reasonable restrictions, the said right ends exactly where the other individual’s right begins, there is no unfettered right to defame and demean any one.
The votaries of freedom of speech and expression should remind themselves that one has to co-exist, the rights are not heaped on any particular group which creates a group of have not’s, who have to keep perpetual silence. It’s a vibrant democracy, yes none is above criticism, but the rules are not selective here, exemptions are not group specific, rule of law is shining, the shine emanating is for all, justice is served equally here, it can’t be served in piecemeal. The Journalistic ethos should never give way for petty political considerations, the rulers may change, the parties may come and go but there are certain values nurtured over a period of time, the shattering of said values are easy but it should be remembered that said values were painstakingly inculcated by those who marched ahead of you.
Indus Scrolls adds: However, the BJP has decided to take the channel to the court over the derogatory references. Earlier, the channel gave the news about his appointment as governor in a derisive manner. Observers say, Malayala Manorama, the pro-Church media house which stood against Freedom Struggle and supported Emergency, has a grudge against Kummanam as he spearheaded many agitations, including the Nilakal agitation. In Nilakal, the Church planted a church by destroying a century-old Shiva temple in the Sabarimala forest.