Media Ethics and Responsibilities

A few days ago the whole of India became a witness to one of the most horrifying scenes of a man attempting self immolation. The garlanded man who stood amidst a huge crowd, television cameras, media persons and policemen was not stopped by anyone before he alighted himself after sprinkling kerosene oil on the body. Suddenly bedlam broke lose when the man called Gopal Krishan Kashyap was engulfed by flames. People who had ‘not expected’ the fire to cause so much of damage and that too so suddenly were however prepared with their blankets but by the time they had put off the fire the damage was done. Kashyap was admitted to the hospital with more than 80 per cent buns and eventually he succumbed to his injuries. The whole incident though has raised some questions which need to be answered. One of them is why the cameras covered the incident?

The second scene of such act of media also visible in the Rahul Mahajan’s (Son of renowned politician Pramod Mahajan) case of drug addiction. A person who is consuming drugs, having drug more than 5 grams must be under trial, what new in this whole episode, perhaps the involved fellow was from a politician family. We should not give to ,much stress on such stories which glorifying the person or act ore annoying the audiences along with society.

The society wants spice and so they were provided by the story. But was it ethical to show such scenes continuously in news channels? A chill ran down the spine when one looked at those clippings. Even a matured person would have been taken aback after visualizing the whole episode then think of the children who were watching the news.

Apart from it there were some more talking points. Should the media persons not have stopped the person from taking such a step? Being citizens of India should they not have tried to evade the situation? There were policemen all right, and whatever the reason they might have given for not preventing Kashyap from lighting himself, the media persons around should have taken the initiative to thwart the ghastly act. Later on every news channel was asking questions of the police but why not on the spot. Media is called the fourth estate, the fourth pillar of the society and so it should prove to be.

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