Media plays a vital function and purpose in our lives. We all have that increasing need for connectivity and effective communication worldwide. But how is journalism in India doing these days?
What is the role of the media amid religious intolerance in this country?
Generally, communication plays an essential role in journalism. In the absence of these two, people would be unaware of current and relevant information locally and worldwide.
Responsible journalism is vital, though. It has accountability, especially in significant issues as religious intolerance.
This topic may seem off-key about our central theme, Chasing Hope. But let us pay a closer look at it. Hope is relevant in these issues.
A Brief Overview About Journalism in India
It is undeniable that there is angst connected with journalism in India.
One problem is the unsafe levels of media reporting. It concerns problematic aspects of some components, particularly the nationalistic press.
Several TV channels are pretty popular to a great degree. But hateful ideas and false information are becoming more rampant.
There may be several specific media channels to reach in India. Yet, they are very blunt. Their style may further heighten the communal environment and the country’s political discourse.
Another concern about journalism in India is media censorship.
Take a look at the records of the World Press Freedom Index in 2019. The country ranked 140th as a one with jeopardized journalists.
In another report, there is an increasing attack on journalists in the country. The nation is 12th in the 2020 Global Impunity Index. This record is about nations with the unsolved killing of media persons.
Is there hope for journalism in India? Dedicated men and women of free press and expression are violated. Be it with violence, civil defamation suits, intimidation, and harassment.
The worst and saddest thing is, it’s the government that deliberately censor the media. Those in authority are now restricting the press in their access to official events. Moreover, internet shutdowns are rising across the country.
But still, the power of journalism cannot be denied. It is an influential tool of transparency, which can either bring peace or destruction.
Religious Intolerance and Journalism in India
Religion profoundly impacts India and her people. It has and is shaping her political, cultural, and economic aspects.
The country has rich religious, historical traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, etc.
Religious intolerance means any discrimination or hatred from perceived schisms. It concerns different religious perspectives between subdivided groups.
In India, religious intolerance is evident. Many people tend to refuse to accept people who they think are different from them. We find prejudice to people who belong to another group. Be it social organization, political party, and sexual orientation.
Again, journalism in India plays a significant role in highlighting this serious issue.
Combating Religious Intolerance
The international community now pays attention to the battle against religious intolerance. It has reached out, particularly in countries that suppress the masses’ freedom of expression.
In countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, religious intolerance is a typical scene. But, these are not the only countries of heightened religious intolerance. It is evident even in other parts of the world.
We’ll take India as an example, where it is almost unattainable to turn on the media today. In the journey of journalism in India, it is impossible to express one’s own opinion. We see this on religious beliefs where media needs to tackle carefully. Lest hatred, discrimination, violence, and intolerance will abound.
To this date, violence against religious groups and rival faiths across the country has reached new heights. Reports consider it as the largest displacement of religious communities.
It is sad to note that millions of individuals from all faiths are getting forced from their homes. Their freedom of spiritual practice is inhibited.
A ray of hope sparked when this incident called the United Nations and Human Rights Council’s attention. They set a main global policy framework for combating intolerance in concerned countries.
A resolution was then adopted to protect people from religious freedom. They agreed on a standard, consensus-based approach, and a practical plan of action.
Of course, journalism in India helped in this work.
Religious Belief in India: Theory Versus Reality
But yes, a theory is far different from reality. Religious freedom in the country continues to dwindle.
Yes, the right to free expression and press is recognized in the 1949 Constitution of India. The country even acceded to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. She pledged adherence to global human rights standards. But still, we see a different picture. Reality is far different from these written claims.
In the fundamental law of India, religious freedom is allowed. Yet, its implementation is hardly illustrated. Thus, the country’s high levels of government restrictions on religion are being questioned.
5 Realities About Religions in India
- She is the home of a massive number of Hindus around the world. Muslims are the second-largest group, representing 311 million.
- India has the largest constitutional multicultural democracy globally. In her constitution, she provides freedom of conscience and the right to express religious beliefs.
- She has a high level of government restrictions on religions. This is despite legal protection for religious groups and minorities.
- There is a high level of religious intolerance related to hostilities from history. Religious minorities like Buddhists, Christians, Jains, Muslims, and Sikhs were harassed. Women are also subject to social violence due to caste because of their religion.
- There are religious disputes of various religious faiths and castes. Aside from these long plagued in Indian society, they have problems related to national issues.
The Importance of Media in the Religious Intolerance
Undeniably, religious intolerance besieges the world. In the presence of resentment and close mind, how can the media help resolve this conflict?
Nowadays, technological innovations help a lot. These generate information to let people know about the truth.
The way individual links and response with the media has changed drastically. The media has a significant contribution to our society, especially in religious beliefs. They indeed play an essential part in the perspective and attitude of the people towards their faith.
Journalism in India: Hope Amidst Deep Crisis
Again, journalism is one of the best channels in providing news. Hence, journalists who are responsible for writing the information must avoid impartiality.
They must execute responsible journalism on balance reporting. There must be an assurance of getting both sides of the story. It means that there must be a presence of sound judgment.
If you are into journalism, avoid being biased based on your own ideological views in writing journals.
In case of an allegation, the journalist should respond to secure the news’s balance and reliability.
We can see and say that there is a need for some reformation in the media sphere. But, the audiences, listeners, and readers must be driven as dependable information outlets.
Indeed, we have avenues to use for the betterment of our lives. But these could inevitably be also used to degrade anybody.
This principle is true for journalism in India. It could be the hope or the ruin of the people.
May it be our prayer that journalism in India will be a catalyst. We look forward to it as an agent for a better chance. There is always hope.