The Need to Ask Questions?

By the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal

2020 seems to be the most disastrous year for India, as if coronavirus, migrant crisis, lockdown, CAA protests, Delhi riots weren’t enough, we now have Chinese army amassing at our borders with an intent to grab some land of ours. Already we have lost some 20 soldiers trying to defend our sovereignty and we don’t know how this border situation will turn out. Moreover, Coronavirus does not seem to be going away anytime soon and new infections are being reported in cities across the country.

It’s a sad time to live in but it’s also a time for self-reflection, questions leads to answers and answers leads to solutions, what is true for self is also true for society. In any society, journalists play that role of questioners but baring few exceptions in India, journalists simply parrot the government line. Journalists are not the only party to blame for this sorry situation. Corporate and political interference, drying up of advertising and business revenues and strong arming of non compliant journalists and editors are also some of the factors that have taken us to the rank of 142 out of 180 in countries ranked by freedom of the press. In fact, anyone can be put behind bars for any article they pen and there is little to no protection from the law or courts.

Few days ago an FIR was filed against a leading journalist for reporting that people in a village adopted by PM in his constituency of Varanasi had faced starvation due to lockdown. Is that a cause of concern to you? Millions of migrants were forced to walk to their hometown and villages with hungry women and children in tow, who is responsible for that? Why families of coronavirus patients who are critically ill are running helplessly in search of beds and life support at hospitals in national capital? What are we discussing with China on the encroachment they did on the border and what are our options? Should the country prepare for war or there is ‘Sab Changa Si’ at the border? These are just some of the questions we need answered but the bigger question is, is it safe to talk these things?

If only we get freedom to ask uncomfortable questions to our leadership, without fear of any repercussions, than 90% of our country’s problem can be solved. When we cannot hold our leaders accountable, we leave a lot of room for problems to grow and with a country of 1.3 billion; the problems can have serious repercussions.

Our leaders do not have brains faster than super computer and they do not have superhuman strategic and administrative abilities as proclaimed by some “leading Anchors” on TV. Our journalist’s only job responsibility is to justify actions of the government at all cost and it’s us, the people, who end up paying the cost.

It’s not easy to ask questions in this country, let us try to develop a sense of appreciation for those who disagree and try to challenge the popular narrative.

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