While working as an intern in a reputed newspaper house in Kolkata, I had often witnessed phone calls that would come to the reporters’ desk from people who were eager to inform about incidents happening in and around their life. One such phone call came from a delirious man saying that the PM’s convoy had knocked down his mother in Mumbai. Needless to say nothing of the sort had actually happened. But this incident explained something very important to me. The fame hungry mass can distort and cook up any sort of story.
Journalism stands on the solid base of accuracy of information. Ethics and principals are hammered into the minds of the students of mass media as with great power comes greater responsibilities. Journalism can spread news far and wide but if the content of the news is a potent catalyst for disturbance in the society then it should not be propagated.
Citizen journalism has been around for quite some time now; its first proper example is seen as the video recording of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the former president of the USA. The incident was filmed by Abraham Zapruder who shot it with a home movie camera. But as time passed this practice of participation of people in journalistic activities grew.
In the current scenario of political tension between India and Pakistan we have seen the social media erupt with opinions on an enraged note. The easy communication means have made the spread of an opinion very fast and convenient and often various catastrophic situations occurred because of this furious propaganda. Media forms such as print and electronic consciously suppress news of riots and communal conflicts to prevent the spread of panic. But people do not realize the impact of their posts, videos, photographs and place it before a global audience. The ease of communication and increase in participation in journalistic activities has had good effects, but the immature use of it has had a bad impact on the society. People’s right to express should not be curbed, but it is high time people realize the worth of social media and citizen journalism.