Has media become ‘accuser, prosecutor, judge’?

Like a bad host, who abuses his guests after calling them home, the prime minister of India launched into the media today after calling a bunch of five editors for a much-delayed interaction. It took Manmohan Singh just 25 words in his 1,884-word opening remarks to stick it into the editors.

“An atmosphere has been created in the country—and I say this with all humility—the role of the media in many cases has become that of the accuser, the prosecutor and the judge… . We take decisions in a world of uncertainty and that’s the perspective I think Parliament, our CAG and our media must adopt if this nation is to move forward,” Singh said.

As if the media was responsible for the 2G, CWG or KG basin scams that has seen his ministers resign or prepare to. As if the media was responsible for the thuggish behaviour of his ministers (like Kapil Sibal) in undermining “civil society”, in other words the people of India. As if the media was responsible for runaway prices or inflation.

Or, as if the media was responsible for hurling a question mark over his tenure. Etcetera.

So, what do you think? Has the media overstepped its brief? Has it become accuser, prosecutor and judge? Has the media done its job in unravelling scams and keeping the pressuer on the government? Is the media wrong in clamouring for a cleaner, less corrupt system?

Or is Manmohan Singh barking up the wrong tree by shooting the messenger?

Also read: Why the PM is hopelessly wrong about the media

How well is the PM’s media advisor advising him?

Because when dog bites dog, it’s news—I

Because when dog bites dog, it’s news—II

Never believe anything until it’s officially denied

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28 Responses to “Has media become ‘accuser, prosecutor, judge’?”

  1. Deepak Says:

    The media has done a fair job – in fact the likes of NDTV and CNN went overboard in trying to project this incompetent fellow as a super PM. If the media hadn’t exposed the scams, the likes of Raja and Kalmadi would still be continuing their loot and our great PM would still be sleeping.

  2. Objectivist Mantra Says:

    There is a huge public demand for over hyped stories on corruption, so the media is selling such stories. That is they way all businessmen behave. They will sell anything for which buyers exist. There exist buyers for stories on corruption. We enjoy watching on TV how many millions or billions shri raja, kalmadi and others have allegedly made. this is good entertainment.

    The top ministers have made a laughing stock of themselves by robbing such obscene sums of money. What are they going to do with so many billions – take it to heaven (or hell) with them. I mean even greed for the “unearned” has to know some limits. In case of UPA2, all sensible limits have been breached. There are no saints in this government, or for that matter anywhere in the public space.

    The country is now awash with cynicism.

    The media is simply reflecting what the people feel. People are fed of seeing that the honest looking prime minister defending the same set of corrupt inviduals. People are fed up of seeing their lives saving melt away under the rising tide of price rise (caused by the deliberate inflationary policies of government) while the prime minister does nothing.

    If our prime minister starts behaving like the exonerator in chief and makes it a habit of issuing character certificates to ministers and cronies who have been involved in corrupt activities, then people are going to loose respect, and they will start beliving the worse stories and rumours about the government.

    Prime minister is wrong when he says that the media has created an atmosphere in the country. The atmosphere has been created by mistakes made by his government. Only way out is reform. The government must start implementing economic reforms, so that prices can come down and new jobs can be created.

    The prime minister is a very august institution, but he is also a “paid servant” of the people. He gets a salary, perks like good house, cars, free food, free servants, etc. In exchange for all that he gets, we expect him to perform his job. It is his job to see to it that the ministers do not indulge in corrupt practices, prices come down, the law and order is maintained, the infrastructure kees working.

  3. the colonel Says:

    from the 1970’s army men are very familiar with the media (en-toto) twist facts or worse manufacture facts and present it as authentetic when we watch with our mouths gagged enraged and helpless.

    secondly the political masters and their beurocatic chamachas give the required “spin” for everything.

    so what are you left with but what is called rumours and heated debates in the aam-junta.

    this nadir of news is everywhere all over the world.

  4. mounaprasad Says:

    This doormat prime minister is wasting his time as well as time of the media by trying to defend the indefensible. Instead of having all these media interviews he should have a backbone transplant at AIIMS at the earliest.

  5. Curry Hurry Says:

    After all don’t the likes of Barkha claim “we the people want to know..” . As if people requested her to represent them ? She makes up stuff on the fly. She should be sharing the cell with Kani.

  6. Sam Says:

    25 words out of 1884 words (don’t you just love MS Word that allows you to state meaningless facts like these to give the article some semblance of credibility?)

    Your tone clearly indicates the very thing that the PM was asking the main stream media (MSM) to be mindful of – the arrogance that you (the MSM) are the be all and the end all, that you are always right, that your viewpoint is the only valid one, that you alone are the ‘voice’ of society.

    You mention the scams ‘unearthed’ by the media.

    (Since you feel the need to pat yourself, go ahead. do it one more time before reading on.)

    Let me get this straight – quoting from leaked or officially released CAG reports is now called ‘investigative journalism’ and ‘unravelling’ scams!?

    Let me clear this delusion of yours – it was a constitutional arm of the government that investigated and unearthed these scams, and not the media.

    (You guys must think we readers / viewers are really dumb!)

    The media highlighted and thus, did put pressure on the government. They did a good job on that front.

    They did go overboard many, many times too by making presumptions (like attacking the government before the government even had a chance to consider the reports and decide on a course of action).

    Is the PM (or any politician, for that matter) wrong in asking you to stop assuming things and just report facts?

    “Much delayed interaction”, my ass.
    You (the MSM) also need to develop a sense of self-esteem. Just because politicians don’t choose your medium to communicate with people, attacking them does not make you seem more IMPORTANT.

    Your other carefully chosen ‘neutral’ words like “Bad host”, “launched into the media”, “thuggish behavior”, “shooting the messenger” …. and the context of your article clearly indicates your bias against the government and the PM.

    For others, I’ll just point out the obvious – the PM (and the current government) cares about the integrity of journalism in India.

    And he says so as much in deeds: Case in point, the government recommended wage hike for journalists. Another case in point – the high-level task force to review India’s defence preparedness includes senior journalist (Manoj Joshi).

  7. vindy Says:

    stupid idiotic argument …guess he wants the media not to hound the accused, not to analyze and help him hush up scams

  8. prasun Says:

    Yes that statement is true but that is because of the failure/incompetence of the legislative, executive and judiciary. Manmohan Singh should accept responsibility instead of blaming “the atmosphere”.

  9. mounaprasad Says:

    Curry Hurry,

    Before Barkha Dutt, I would like to see Neera Radia behind bars but alas that is only wishful thinking :(

  10. Pulikeshi the Last Says:

    At last the prime minister now knows he isn’t the idol he thought he was. Clearly, saying that he wouldn’t mind if Rajiv Gandhi were to become prime minister bespeaks a sense of inferiority, a need to be bowing and scraping before the woman who made him our CEO. It might also be an indication that he is mired in scandals yet to surface.

  11. Andy Says:

    “Has media become ‘accuser, prosecutor, judge’?”. Its a YES…quite rightly so and thank god for that..

  12. Binkada Singari Says:

    Mana mohana. Saaku rodana.

  13. Balaji Says:

    “the role of the media in many cases has become that of the accuser, the prosecutor and the judge” – brilliant one! Guess he should have stopped there instead of proceeding with the press meet!

  14. twistleton Says:

    Media did not “unearth” the 2G scam. The 2G scam was handed to the media on a platter. :)

  15. Simple Says:

    Large sections of the Media has no moral bone in its body. It goes with its tail wagging, wherever the money is. if any story has the potential of creating more TRPs and more readership for itself, the media will be there.

    It is pulp journalism – no different from a commercial potboiler of a movie.

    Arnab Goswami takes the cake for being the worst rabble rouser.

  16. harkol Says:

    Let us understand what accuser, prosecutor and judge means!

    Accuser is the one who complains/blames/holds someone responsible for an act of commission/omission. Media certainly does this on behalf of people. It is the job of media to do so!!

    Prosecutor is a person belonging to law enforcement machinery. He decides if an accusation has merit for pursuing a case in a court. Collects all evidences and facts, and presents it before a judge for the purpose of punishing the wrong-doer. Can media do this?!! Well it just helps provide the material to prosecutor, but prosecution arm is with the govt. and Media can do nothing to take a case in front of a judge.

    Judge is an administrator and adjudicators of legal matters. He decides if there is merit in the arguments of prosecution and defense, and finds in favor of one of them. His judgement carries the full weight of law, and can punish the guilty. Can media do this in any way – Hell no!

    Now for Executive (MMS) to cry that media does all three is hypocritical. because it is the govt. which does all three. Govt. is an accuser in a lot of cases, Its the prosecutor as police & prosecution arm lies within it, and its also a judge, like in cases where Govt. departments directly penalize citizens (I.T. Dept, Police dept., Customs and many other departments can levy fines directly)!

    So, isn’t it the executive who is “Accuser, prosecutor & Judge”? Don’t they have too much power concentrated with them?

  17. Goldstar Says:

    If the kaangresi types (like Simple) blame the media, and the BJP guys also blame the media, and of course the commies always rant against the (“corporate” ” bourgeouis”) media then Indian media is truly independent. Good show by the MSM !!

  18. tsubba Says:

    of all the half hearted, hand wavy arguments the PM made, this is what caught your attention?

    as we say in kannada, snake must also be died, stick must also be not broken. what what magic. like that, PM also must be questioned but uncomfortable questions must not be asked.

    more than being the trinity, it is the shameless bucket holding that is bothersome.

    did any one ask, what was the PM doing at midnight of Jun 4-5th? was he already asleep? because, events that take place in day light are known to disturb his sleep. how do events that take place in the middle of the night influence his sleeping patterns?

  19. babuds Says:

    UPA 1 was ok in some sense. UPA 2 has turned into UPAy 2 us. Now get ready for UPA 3 and then 4,5, etc.

  20. Simple Says:

    Where is Arnab Goswami? Why is he doing no story on the five labourers crushed to death in a DLF building?

    Simple. There is no money in following this story.

    If five software engineers or five jouralists were killed, perhaps then, the media would have made a big hue and cry about it.

    Because, there, they smell money owing to more TRPs.

  21. Ana Lyst Says:

    If the media didn’t exist at all, Manmohan would have had it easier. Now, that is no longer a possibility.

    In fact, he avoided the media, but the media did not reciprocate. The media speculated on his silences.

    My message to leaders: Media is a fickle mistress. Spurn her at your peril. Court her, as you have no choice.

  22. parijataka Says:

    Well, media has been a mixed bag. Reflecting the general fall in morals of society, there are very few honest media houses like the Indian Express of old headed by the feisty Ramnath Goenka. There are national channels that are overtly pro one party and then there are national news papers that are leftist to the extent of supporting China by twisting the facts. One TV channel that was airing a discussion on whether lobbying should be made legal, soon after the Radia exposure, was displaying alleged tweets made by peopple in supporting lobbying while in reality they were being logged by the channels staff using false IDs. Currently in my house we watch only Arnab’s (irritating but relatively fair, screwing and lampooning all his guests equally!) channel.

    Media in general has been very generous to the ruling clique at centre, the effect of deep pockets I guess. In any case, with the loot of almost 6 decades, they have sufficient moolah to keep the media minions happy and well fed for a along time. Sardar ji has no reason to complain, media mostly has been pliable and sweet with him.

  23. Mathihalli Madan Mohan Says:

    From a gentleman, Mr Manmohan Singh has graduated as a full blooded congressman

  24. kaangeya Says:

    Of course yes, the media is judge, jury, and executioner. Just look at the abuse that is heaped on Narendra Modi day in and day out, with no evidentiary basis whatsoever.

  25. Objectivist Mantra Says:

    I got really tired of hearing about our honorable Prime Minister’s highly publicised meeting with small group of “top” editors.

    So I finally got down to write on my blog this post, titled – “The know the truth about what “aam admi” is going through, the Prime Minister should meet some junior level journalists”

    read it here: http://www.vermapost.com/2011/07/know-truth-about-what-aam-admi-is-going.html

  26. Kirikiri Says:

    Kaangeya,

    ‘no evidentiary basis whatsoever’. So true. But how could they get the evidence when all of it was burnt by the GoJ and then denied it is not so and then denied that denial and then…

    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/destruction-of-records-gujarat-govt-may-backtrack-on-claim/811775/

  27. twistleton Says:

    Reminds me of the Roman circus where the mob woud roar and get to see the accused being mauled by a wild beast. Sunday matinee anyone??

  28. dr.priyanka bandgar. Says:

    constitution has given the authority t perform all these role t gov. Only.how can b the media?bt the currupt atmosphere in gov. made the media t respond and perform these psudoroles.both sides have some lacuna and plus side.so the only blem game wil useles. Insted the media has taken the initiatives on bhalf of common.it has created awarnes among common of bad conducts of their own leader. We must support media nt as a blind faith bt as it strenthening governments own law of rt t information and policy of good governance .making strong democracy… Jai hind.

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