A little note on journalism on positive media day

Microsoft Bing notified me that it was Positive Media Day at 12 A.M; I had no idea there was a day dedicated to positive media until then. I simply chuckled, and then I noticed that #Arnabisback was trending at the same time, and I read the description of the Republic media, which described itself as “fierce journalism.” I also noticed that #RanaAyyub was trending, with a lot of tweets dehumanizing her. Well, I’m not going to get into a debate over who is better and who isn’t. Neither this article intends to pick sides or criticize the other.

With so much negativity around, it is impossible to pick up positive news and read about it. It is nearly impossible to switch on the television, open a digital media website, or scroll through Twitter without being bombarded with news of the latest coronavirus deaths.

Alerts of murders, global catastrophes, accidents, crime, communal hatred, and human rights abuses are so frequent, thanks to the 24-hour news cycle — and this continual barrage of violence and devastation has messed up our minds.

Fake news has taken more sophisticated form, faux, misleading, and spun-up stories are more widely circulated. Hoaxes are more profitable to produce.

This isn’t to say that these are the only events that occur. Perhaps journalists are compelled to convey negative news since a sudden tragedy is more captivating than gradual progress.

A farmer reads a newspaper outside his campsite as farmers continue to demonstrate against the central government’s recent agricultural reforms blocking a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, in Singhu on March 4, 2021.

While many of us feel depressed reading such news and many individuals are unable to distinguish between true or fake news, and others with vested interests are taking advantage of this. The development and dissemination of fake news and hoaxes on the Internet are motivated by money, politics, or other hidden agendas.

And when we look around at the current media landscape, it looks like the majority still believe that it’s negative, not positive news, that sells, and follow the old adage: “If it bleeds, it leads.”

It’s strange that if an individual or small organization attempts to help out by disseminating news, we’re frequently questioned if we’re on the right or left side of politics. On occasion, we are informed that journalism has reached its nadir. But I would like to tell you about one such individual and organization that constantly strives to keep the citizens informed. You might as well want to look it up.

Palagummi Sainath, the founder, and editor of the People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI) quit prominent positions to devote his time to assisting and documenting rural India’s untold tales that mainstream media overlook. Positive news from rural India seldom hits the front pages of newspapers. However, owing to individuals like Sainath sir, a glimmer of light can be seen even in the middle of such despair. It was Sainath sir to highlight ‘agrarian crises as civilization crises.’

P Sainath, renowned Journalist and Columnist interaction with media at press club

When you think of a farmer, how frequently do you think of a woman farmer? Very rarely or not at all right. It’s not your fault the Indian media frequently shows a man ploughing in a desolate field as a graphic depicting a farmer crisis in rural India. But Sainath sir pointed out that it’s the women who work in the fields, whether they are sowing, harvesting, or ploughing. Despite this, just about 8% of women own any land. Did you know, women farmers commit suicide as well?

Women farmers work in a barley field on the outskirts of Jaipur, Rajasthan, India.

Sainath sir believes that dissent, discussion, and representation of every section and gender of our society form the fabric and birth of this profession. Yes, such people and organizations exist, but we are the ones who decide what we want to read. Do read up on his book “Everybody loves a good drought,” to understand the plight of ordinary people. To learn about the stories of our rural India, follow organizations such as PARI. Rural India’s stories are just as significant as the richest man in India breaking news headlines. Perhaps then you’d stop asking questions about left and right and instead focus on the people of rural India.

I disagree that media is dead; it is very prevalent, switch off your 9 PM news and look around you. You will find individuals and organizations who actually deliver news, not infotainment. Alt News, for example, is a fact-checking organization that uses Reverse Image Search and other tools to debunk false news. There are many such organizations and individuals like Faye D’souza who always strive to offer accurate facts. Support and follow them.

The daily repetition of negative news about things we can’t act upon makes us passive. It grinds us down until we adopt a pessimistic, jaded, sarcastic, and fatalistic outlook. Society needs journalism – but in a different way, we need to hear the stories of ordinary men. It’s not only about the issues; it’s also about the solutions. There are a lot of stories about things that are working. About visionaries and revolutionaries and about possible collaborations and change-makers. Don’t indulge in whataboutery. Don’t indulge in a blame game. As citizens, we ought to demand what we consume. I remember Madhavan’s dialogue from ‘Rang De Basanti’“Koyi Bhi Desh perfect Nahi hota, Usse perfect banana padta hai.” (No country is perfect. We’ve to make it perfect).

Image courtesy:

Getty images

Prathiksha BU

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13 Comments

  • This is so relevant. We should always keep our intake of content into check and not get swayed away by what is being projected to influence people.

  • Great read!

  • 👌👌

  • Such a nice point why don’t we talk about women farmers. Your article got me thinking about it. I wait everyday to read your article.

  • This is very relevant and much needed to be discussed in the current scenario

    • The power a journalist can make huge impact on common lpeople, like you have very well said its really important to focus on the common people issues, but the most important thing is not just the issue but also solutions.
      reading your article is not just fun but I like the thoughtfulness seriously kuddos to your insight, content, everytime you come up with such a nice articles that are so interesting.. I’m excited to read more articles of your prathiksha great work.. Keep it up

  • You inspire me ❣️ I barely read newspaper, but I make sure I read your article everyday.

  • Never knew that a day like this was present- Positive media day. @prathiksha_uday thank you so much for enlightening many of us..
    These days people are driven more by fear and dislikes rather than love and positivity and if this continues more people will start believing that this is how the world works. The moment we start continuing the negative behavior is the moment we are losing our reliability as a society.

  • Good article

    • Great article
      Great job putting light on a topic that needs to be discussed more often. 👌

  • Thank you for the enlightening read Prathiksha.

  • Positive media day? Sounds like a great initiative, surfacing positive news on mainstream media.
    Thankyou for sharing with us this beautiful note on organizations like PARI and others…brightened up my day.

  • Such an enlightening read. Always a pleasure to see your work 🙂

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