THE SUNDAY HEADLINES-THE ULTIMATE POWER FOR PEOPLE
It’s a bitter truth. Today, a wide section of mainstream Indian media represents the aspirations and concerns of the affluent and rich class. In the bargain, the interest of the common man and the struggle of the underprivileged who form the bulk of the country are conveniently ignored. If the ethos of a true democracy has to survive, if the spirit of fraternity and equality has to live another day, India needs a credible, free and fair mainstream national media that is not shackled by corporate houses.
REDEFINING MEDIA. REDEFINING NORMS
Mainstream media, monopolized either for advertisements or driven by the sole objective of securing ratings, needs to be challenged. The growing dependence on advertising means less and less autonomy. Alternate media is the need of the hour as the mainstream media is totally disconnected with the lives of the people and their everyday challenges. The mainstream media plays a disproportionate role in shaping public perceptions, electoral outcomes and the means by which the power is exercised. It generally favors the powerful and the rich and thus wields political clout, which blatantly ignores journalistic ethics. The shallowness in reporting, the slants in editorial projections and the biases on serious issues result in a general decline of reliability and authenticity of the news. On the whole, it affects the credibility of the media, raising doubts on the role of the fourth state of the world’s largest democracy.
JOURNALISM FOR THE PEOPLE
Turing a blind eye to the real issues that matter to the nation has brought us to the edge of a precipice. But all is not lost yet. For the first time, top broadcast and print journalists from mainstream media have united to redesign and restructure the news business in India. Top news anchors and reputed political and investigative journalists have joined hands with the best news managers and editors to set up an unbiased, reliable, free, fair, fearless and people-oriented news channel and online portal. The sole objective of the team is to create a level playing field for you and me.
PUBLIC AUDIT FOR PUBLIC POWER
One of the major reasons for a widening gap between the rich and the poor is the weak implementation of government policies and social sector schemes. Government schemes and projects which share a major chunk of the state exchequer are mired in corruption. Huge infrastructure projects, public sector undertakings, and big mining contracts have fallen prey to the nexus of crony capitalists and power brokers. For a better and prosperous future of our country, these projects and schemes need an urgent public audit. Through a well-mechanized network of reporters led by senior investigative editors, ”THE SUNDAY HEADLINES” would audit these schemes and projects in the interest of taxpayers and people at large. It’s a new concept in the history of Indian journalism.
”THE SUNDAY HEADLINES” would also dedicate its network in covering interest of people from rural and smaller townships. Going beyond the rating race among private satellite channels, the network would adhere to basic norms of responsible journalism and investigate issues that are close to the heart of people living in rural India. Among a slew of other things, we will expose the nexus of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats who are eating into the vitals of the country.
ALTERNATE MEDIA: MISSION DEDICATED TO NATION
Media for people is dedicated to the all countrymen cutting across caste and creed. We are driven by a single-minded pursuit: Serve the country with reliable and responsible journalism. Media persons with a collective experience of several hundred years in mainstream news channels and national news dailies form the core team.
It is a combined effort of the working journalists which redefines proprietorship of the media industry mostly aligned with the ruling establishment. ”THE SUNDAY HEADLINES’‘ would work on basis of no-profit no-loss and would invite endowment and donations from countrymen besides a normal pool of subscription and advertisement funds. ”THE SUNDAY HEADLINES” will be the only news channel in the country which would have a transparent news policy formulated governed by an editorial advisory board. The board would consist of former Supreme Court and High court judges, eminent lawyers, former administrative, police and revenue services officials, chartered accountants, economists, eminent social workers, veteran journalists, industrialists, rural and young entrepreneurs, doctors and engineers.
INVESTIGATING GOVERNANCE AND DEBATING TRANSPARENCY
“THE SUNDAY HEADLINES” will cover governance from center to states. It will focus primarily on delivery and debate on issues affecting people across the board. Government policies and decisions would be major thrust areas. Transparency in business, government functioning and judiciary would be investigated in wider public interest.
Alternate media is the need of the hour as the mainstream media is totally disconnected with the lives of the people and their everyday challenges. The mainstream media plays a disproportionate role in shaping public perceptions, electoral outcomes and the means by which the power is exercised. It generally favors the powerful and the rich and thus wields political clout, which blatantly ignores journalistic ethics. The shallowness in reporting, the slants in editorial projections and the biases on serious issues result in a general decline of reliability and authenticity of the news. On the whole, it affects the credibility of the media, raising doubts on the role of the fourth state of the world’s largest democracy.
TELLING THE TRUTH
We (writers, artists, litterateurs and media persons) have every right, to tell the truth in our way. It can have different colors, different languages and may be dramatic also. But we as a citizen have every right to know the truth. This famous statement of Nobel laureate Harold Pinter given in his speech at the time of receiving Nobel Prize has a directive for modern media also. Today millions of pages are printed and hours of sound bites and miles of visuals are poured upon readers and viewers to tell the complexities of the modern World. But the words and speeches tell less and hide more. In fact, they have become tools in hiding the misdeeds of power and diverting the common people’s attention. Most of the news and analysis are either sponsored or aimed at serving the cause of rich and powerful.
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?
With the advancement of democracy credibility of media is under strong suspicion. The dignified distance between media and other institutions of democracy has been compromised in the name of development and positivity. During the eighties, there were strong debates among great editors whether media should be a mission or profession? In the nineties, the debate took a different turn that whether media should be secular or so-called cultural nationalist and Hindutva oriented? Simultaneously the debate of upper caste bias and representation of OBC and Dalit aspirations also emerged on different levels. Media also became the part of liberalization debate which gave the new dimension to media potential and priorities. In short, if the emergency was the greatest challenge before media and it shaped the future course of media activity, the nineties threw Mandal, Mandir, and Globalization as great churning points before it. Twenty-first Century arrived with great hope and with minimum hangovers of Twentieth Century ideologies. In fact, we have seen the End of ideologies, End of History and emerging Clash of civilization and remaking of new world order in the last century.
In the twenty-first century, media found great challenges in the form of growing intolerance of crony capitalism, communalism and identity politics. Forces representing these tendencies see freedom of media as an impediment to their advancement. That is the reason why either media has surrendered its freedom before the vested interest of corporate powers or political forces. In fact, corporates have formed different political fronts in the name of honesty and people’s interest and they control the media. On the other front old order in the form of caste, gender, and economic bias still exists to challenge the democratic advancement. Nirbhaya incident in the heart of Capital is the glaring example of that cruel bias. Therefore freedom of speech and expression are under attack and interest of poor farmers, labors, tribal and other vulnerable sections of society find lesser representation in the media. Here lies the cause of this decline.
Media cannot be independent by using the means provided either by corporate or by Government. It is not only the corporate media which neglects the interest of common citizens of the country but Government media also could not carve out public space under the so-called autonomy of Prasar Bharati.
Here comes the question of economy of media. Our Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi said that freedom of the press cannot be retained by inviting advertisement from big business houses. He was in favor of running newspaper on the basis of subscription cost. It is difficult to follow his principle in absolute terms but that can be our motto to launch a new media movement called ”THE SUNDAY HEADLINES”
This is a team of concerned journalists, citizens, and professionals who believe that power of media lies in its credibility. We believe that media is part of democracy which stands on the strong value- by the people, for the people, and of the people. That is why media should never favor rich at the cost of poor, ruler at the cost of ruled, haves at the cost of have not and lies at the cost of truth. This is a new movement to make media credible, to make democracy sustainable, to minimize inequality and conflict of society and make the civilization more lasting.
Come and join us in telling the truth because it is the truth which will ultimately prevail and you have every right to know it. Please contribute, co-operate and express solidarity with us to make it a success.