Has the media served its role just fully in handling the Batla House encounter, or was biased? This was one of the most important questions raised in the panel discussion conducted by the Jamia Teachers Solidarity Group at Edward Said Hall of Jamia Milia Islamia on November 11. Veteran journalists Sukumar Muralidharan (freelancer) and Ajit Sahi (Tehelka) were there to discuss the role of media. The discussion was under the banner, “Media Terror and the Batla House Encounter”
Sukumar Muralidharan, an independent journalist said, “This is not the first time that the media has ‘pre-judged’ a case before a court has given its verdict.” However he said that the media cannot be constrained in performing its role because it will affect the public’s right to know. But a check on the role of media can be applied to make it present the events objectively. He said that the public should not accept in its face value whatever the media is presenting.
Explaining the changing role of the media over the recent time, Mr Muralidharan said that media organisations are looking towards making profit and then following the principles of journalism.
Ajit Sahi, Editor at Large of Tehelka spoke in chaste Hindi. The students and teachers present got captivated by his oratory skill. He informed the audience about the recent incident of Delhi University where an activist of ABVP spat on SAR Geelani, a professor in Delhi. He said that, he along with his mother was present in the programme as a speaker with Professor Geelani. He expressed his concern over the incident as well as the media presentation of it the next day in a very concocted manner.
Professor Adil of the Jamia Millia Islamia urged the media persons to do objective reporting of events.
While showing his grief over the Jamia incident, he questioned: Why should Muslim organisations and Ulama have to organise conferences and seminars to prove their innocence? Why should the Ulama have to feel guilty of themselves if something wrong is happening in the country? Till now the Jamia Ulema-i-Hind has organised five great conferences all over India. The Jamaat-e-Islami-Hind has also launched two countrywide Aman-o-Insaaf caravans as well as such state-level caravans from all state capitals to send the message of peace across the large segments of masses all over India.