Staff Reporter GUWAHATI, Aug 9 - Asserting that media has an important role to play in making democracy strong, senior journalist Antara Dev Sen today said media practitioners are not doing enough and are focusing only on the privileged section of society.
Antara Dev Sen speaking on the occasion. – AT Photo
Delivering the 18th Kamala Saikia Memorial Lecture here, Sen said contemporary media – particularly the national media – has been focusing on lifestyle rather than speaking of the everyday realities.
“Our focus has been more on the privileged. We give importance to international news, but we don’t know what is happening on our own backyards – in our villages and even in some urban pockets which are not posh,” the founder editor of The Little Magazine said.
Stating that national media has been ‘smart’ and ‘stylish’, Sen said the regional media has been superior and giving importance to issues of the underprivileged.
“The Constitution demands equality to all. We have failed to keep reminding this to our rulers. If we do not do this, we will keep going down and a lot of unhappiness will remain,” she said.
Underlying the role of media to keep the country ‘on track’, Sen said media needs to bring things to attention and give importance to ‘all little things we tend to ignore’.
“We need to challenge the wrong, find the truth and make it easily accessible to public. Only then we will be able to live in a better society,” she said, adding that some in the media are even playing the role of power and money brokers as was revealed in the Radia Tapes.
Stating that militancy starts with idealistic commitment and enormous frustration arising out of denial of rights and equality, she said a lot of such violence could have been prevented had the media not ignored the deprivation.
“If a person is made to feel ‘the other’, if he is deprived of his rights and if he does not feel he belongs to the country, it is extremely dangerous. He is open to be used by anybody,” she added.
The senior journalist also felt that to make the media more independent and free, readers need to ‘pay’ so that the dependency on advertisements is reduced.
Veteran journalist and editor of Prantik Pradip Baruah was felicitated by the Journalist Kamala Saikia Memorial Trust on the occasion.
In his brief speech, Baruah said the ULFA was given undue importance by the media during its nascent days which was a ‘big mistake’ that did so much damage.
“No one likes to hear the unpleasant truth. Kamala Saikia had told the unpleasant truth and probably that is why he met that fate. But we still don’t know who killed him. We also don’t know who killed Parag Das. I feel the killers were hired and some one else had the remote control. But there should be no more such killings,” he said.
President of the Kamal Saikia Memorial Trust Kanak Sen Deka presided over the meeting organised in association with the Guwahati Press Club.