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Continuing Struggle

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In the traditional newspaper’s 24 hour cycle, an anniversary is just another day with deadlines having to be met and ‘literature written in a hurry’. The time to rectify mistakes is brief – otherwise they are enshrined forever in print. Journalism is not an occupation in which one can take pause, leave things for another day. The adrenaline is at a constant high, as is the subsequent stress. Be it in the field or on the desk, it requires a constant struggle to reach the truth, obtain the facts. Not just that, the story has to be narrated well, so that the young and old can equally find it of interest. As an enterprise, a newspaper is like any other – again an everyday struggle to keep the shutters up. The customer’s always right in demanding the best quality product as cheaply as possible. The general public tends to take newspapers for granted. Journalists are expected to maintain the highest ethics, fight off pressures, not be subservient to those in power, and be uncaring of their own well-being in the face of challenges. In India, particularly, the media’s rights flow from the individual’s freedom of speech – there is no special law guaranteeing rights of any kind. So, the journalist is basically a nosey-parker expected to know her place. Governments over the years have claimed to be committed to a free and powerful media, but fundamentally have worked to undermine its independence. This has led to patronage of a few at the cost of the many required for diversity of opinion. Monopolies are favoured as ‘arrangements’ can be more easily made, rather than having to work hard to gain the respect of a fraternity that is by nature irreverent. In the face of the expanding conglomerates, ordinary people’s voices get increasing marginalised. The present day opposition may somewhat rightly accuse the BJP of disregarding the intellectual class, but it did no better when it was in power, only differently. This has considerably weakened the Fourth Estate in all its manifestations, particularly the newspapers. A consequence has been the rise of the fake news phenomenon, echo chambers of various kinds, with newspapers increasingly unable to provide the right perspective on things. It is no wonder then that politicians are no longer able to gauge public opinion and so called ‘undercurrents’. Garhwal Post, despite all these difficulties and its extremely limited resources, seeks to keep a finger on the pulse and provide early warning of things to come. It will continue to do so for as long as it can.

-Satish Sharma