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Give media its right of place

Elections are on our doorsteps. But as democracy matures, we seem to be becoming slighter and more shortsighted. Heavy-handed policing of media by some constitutional offices that overstep their mandate is making election reporting difficult. This is not healthy for the nation. A pity.

In a democratic society, media’s role is critically important. Without responsible and fearless media, there will not be robust system of checks and balances. When newsrooms are kept on a tight leash, it either means we have dirty secrets to hide or ugly intrigues laid out for the future.

We could certainly do better.

The real problem with some powerful offices is that they are missing their core mandate. Maybe they are getting lost in the labyrinth of laws and policies. If the laws we enact and rules and regulations we make are there only to be trampled upon as we wish, why do we even make them wasting many man-hours on borrowed expense? Giving teeth to them is more important.

Individual games at smaller levels and more complicated party strategies to stay afloat by beating each other up is not helping the nation, especially when the media are made to watch quietly with their mouths wide shut. The danger of silencing media can be interpreted in terms of rising scourges like corruption in the society, which, in our case, can be damaging and expensive.

Today, media as the voice of the people is being threatened by public offices with their this mandate and that, overstepping each other. The least these overbearing offices can do is recognise their own mandate and let media do their job. At the same time, media houses must be more professional and responsible.

Otherwise, the tussle between media and the powerful offices will continue and the biggest loser will be the nation and her people.

Silent media is the death of a society. We seem to be hurtling that way. Maybe we are here because our bureaucracy and public offices do not understand the role of media or they just choose to ignore it. Either way, the trend is not healthy.

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