The media has both a right and a duty


To harbor means to bring something or someone to safety. How can any media do that with "violence, war, democracy, peace or terrorism", an abstraction meaning the sum of our acts over time? Media can slant the news to favor, just as media can slant the news (facts and interpretations of the facts) to discredit. Both aren't biased reporting. Unbiased (truthful) reporting means reporting the facts about the subjects, not just selecting those facts that fit tour prejudices, while ignoring the others.

Likewise, reporting faulty interpretations of the facts (illogical cause-effect relationships) is not harmful for the same reason. Most media do that all the time, in part so that their readers and advertisers will continue to read and finance them. Academicians who write in professional journals are a little more truthful because they are under the scrutiny of their peers and not under advertising pressure. Finally, it's hard for me to find a unbiased book on the subject; that is, all the facts and logical interpretations of them.

In summary, reporting favorable or favorable truths about anything is useful; it won't confuses people , so they won't take erroneous actions based on faulty information.

It's not so difficult for ordinary people to get at the truth through the media. If we are ambitious, all we can do is read a lot of media, books and journals and do the best we can to get at the truth.

A press, or media in general, if it remains somewhat objective is the only way the people can see what is happening in the society, government, good and bad. The more objective press (media), the better, because what one press fails to report, a competitor will.

The only justification I can think of for forbidding a particular people to publish is when they loses objectivity so much that their articles are lies by any standard, or at least gross distortions from the truth by any standard.

So, Media can play an objective role in society. Press freedom does allowing the media to promote development and transformation. Media can be more responsible toward the people and the principle of freedom.

The media has both a right and a duty to report fully on the interest of the public's right to know and to promote open, informed debate about the issues. It should not be one sided.

To the extent that the media can bring issues to people's attention, I think it can help development.

(Kamala Sarup is editor of )