This conversation isn’t going away
Barkha Dutt / NDTV have a right to defend themselves, but in my opinion, the response was disproportionate and showed contempt for a medium that is being used by people of all shapes, sizes, genders, professions, interests to express their views, and in the process eliminating the middleman – a role that until a few years ago was played by the mainstream media (MSM). Don’t get me wrong – this is not a “Chyetanya Kunte, the Hero” episode. It is about MSM wanting trying to make the rules, to “regulate” the medium because it is “irresponsible”. But is that the real problem? No. It is deeper than that.
Many of us are casual bloggers writing about our political/social views, or taking our real life passion to the internet, not in it for making money or get paid for it. The language is casual (not all), sometimes emotional, angry, funny depending on circumstances and little thought is given to legal implications. We are not journalists but people sitting in one “dark corner” typing away at our computers, writing “letters to the editor” except the editor is another person sitting in another dark corner typing away at his/her computer. And we are having an almost public conversation that is open for everyone to join in.
I am not saying this conversation is perfect or will always end well, but it has room for everyone - like what @vimoh says about a blog post written by “the sort of man I have been at odds with my entire life”:
his blog post made me happy. I am happy because he wrote that blog post and I am happy that that blog post exists on the web along with this blog post by me and this one by Amrutha.
Blogs are not monologues like news channels, where anchors perform for the camera while we watch and listen. Instead, blogs enable a dialogue between people who would never have known of each other’s existence or ideas or thoughts.
So, again, what is the real problem? In view of some in the MSM, it is probably this conversation we are having. A conversation that is chaotic but also structured in its own way, uncontrolled but mostly civil. And it takes MSM out of the equation. So I urge the MSM to try and understand the medium and to join this conversation. Not for the heck of it, but to listen, learn and understand their audience, away from TV studios and cameras. There are bigger issues confronting us. But if the contempt does not go away, let me point out that this conversation isn’t going away either.
Finally, this freedom we have is precious - it must be protected from those who want to suppress it, and also from ourselves. No drinking and driving :-)
Some other blogs that have covered this issue:
Falstaff – The further adventures of Hark Da Butt (Hilarious)
The Mad Momma – We, the bloggers (good roundup of many other posts)
Placid Freedom – Freedom of Speech - challenged yet again
Listen to the defiance – by kuffir at Blogbharti
Mridu Khullar – Engage your viewers, don’t sue them