Mass media is changing into corporate-class media, which portends disaster for democracy, warned Prof. Biswaranjan while speaking on ‘Role of Mass media in present context’ in a seminar organized by Athgarh Press Club in the auditorium of B. N. Bidyapith, Athgarh on 25 November, 2012.
Prof. Biswaranjan, a political scientist who till recently was the editor of Khabar, a vernacular broadsheet major, was the Chief Speaker.
Mentioning of how the first attempt to share information with the society was made by a man of Athgarh late Sadhu Sundar Das through his unique depiction of news on sheets of bark of a plant called Bhurjapatra plant at Kujibara, Prof. Biswaranjan dwelt on contributions of media to the cause of the people, till it drifted away from the masses with the concept of market economy transforming its mission to profit motive. As an alternative, he said, neighborhood Medias with local low cost ads are evolving.
Representative-in-Chief of ORISSA MATTERS, Subhas Chandra Pattanayak, as guest of honor, gave an elaborate picture of India’s present politico-economic condition in the pernicious hands of compradors in power. Expressing deep anguish over media in India increasingly becoming the rich man’s media, leading to loss of democratic prudence to mediacracy controlled by corporate houses, he called upon conscious journalists to expose the real picture of politicians that have pushed the country into ruins.
He contextually mentioned of Orissa where official welfare programs are named after Biju Patnaik when the ruling party –Biju Janata Dal – is also named after him. This trick is so vote-catching that the fraction of BJD that opposes Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, also brandishes Biju as its trade mark! This is the context in which media has a primordial role to play in order to save the State from the ruins, he observed.
Diagnosing that Orissa is in ruins by politicians using Biju Patnaik as their mask, he said, unless media dismantles this mask, the State cannot be saved from the labyrinth of misrule. He, therefore, contextually dug out from the debates of the Parliament, how India had to suffer the ignominy of defeat in 1962 Chinese aggression because of the treachery he had played against the country, for sheer personal profit, through his Kalinga Airways.
The degradation of the country has not developed in a day. Ever since independence, the politicians in power have individually and collectively contributed to its ruin. It is now time for the patriotic media persons to unmask the people in power, even if required posthumously, so that the people of the country can be saved from politico-economics disasters, he said.
In the process, there shall be clash between the corporate owners of media organizations and the working media persons. But, as a class, the media persons must act, notwithstanding how that irritates the owners of their organizations. Victory shall be theirs and of the people; not of the corporate owners of media, he envisioned.
Media trade-unionist Devi Prasanna Nayak, Sub-Editor of The Samaja, who heads the Association of its journalists and non-journalist employees, as a guest speaker said, burden of saving the people from repression, oppression and exploitation, has in every phase of the modern age been soldered by the journalists working under or with media houses. They must not falter in exposing the miscreants even if that embarrasses corporate media owners; because the people are of prime importance to journalists, not endearment with the operators.
Bijay Ketan Mishra, Resident Editor of The Political and Business Daily, as the Chief Guest, lauded the Athgarh Journalists for having come up with the Press Club, which, he was sure, would promote cultural solidarity amongst the media persons active in the area.
Earlier, before leaving for a welfare function elsewhere in the constituency, Athgarh MLA Ranendra Pratap Swain had welcomed the Press Club and lauded local journalists for having constantly acted as sentinels of public interest in the area. Focusing on evolution of different branches of journalism, he said that the responsibility of journalists has grown immensely in the present context of political and economic complexities.
The Press Club President Sarbeswar Panda presided over the function. Dinesh Das, Secretary of the Club had introduced the guests as well as the subject.
Besides members of the Club, socially active Advocates and writers of the area were also present in the function.