General V K Singh used the term “presstitutes” to describe journalists who had written a story on the movement of army units causing concern to the government. The General mixed the term press with prostitutes to imply that journalists sold their souls and their pens to file an improper report.
Now Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) head honcho, Arvind Kejriwal with his ‘it’s my way or the highway’ stance, has slammed the media for being corrupt and panned those critical of him.
Then Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, said that he would crush certain elements in the electronic media which, he alleged were orchestrating nasty designs against the Congress party. He then said that he meant social media. The Editor’s Guild of India has come down heavily on these statements which they claimed were unsubstantiated.
As elections approach, we think this media bashing is going to get more strident and shriller. While accusations of corruption in the media may have some basis, it is wrong to tarnish the entire media with the same brush.
Sulking politicians and pouting public figures must realise that there are two sides to the publicity coin — those that woo the media must also know that being in the spotlight means you might get panned for it.
When politicians and public figures shoot their mouths off, they should do so after doing exactly what they accuse the press of not doing: their homework. Substantiate or at least provide some evidence of the charges that you are making against journalists. If you think they are corrupt, have some kind of proof to prop up that accusation.
While ‘presstitutes’ is certainly a clever amalgamation of two words, it is vitriolic, unbefitting of the rank of a former army general. While anger and ire is one thing, to automatically jump to conclusions about paid journalists and reports is heinous.
Treat journalists with the fairness and decorum you expect from them.