By Rinchin Gaekwad:
Hailed as the 4th pillar of democracy, the world without journalism would be a stone slab with only three legs, unstable, collapsing every time anyone tried to sit on it. Being a journalist is not a 9-to-5 profession or a monetarily-incentivised occupation; journalism is a service to mankind, a way of life chosen by a few daring ones who are not afraid to be the ‘last men standing’. And foremost, journalism is not replaceable. Without this particular genre of professionals, the world would be in darkness and obsolete with no crux holding together the diversities of the world.
In the absence of the breed of journalists, cross-cultural awareness would be a distant dream. The 21st century housed in today’s ‘global village’ with continually deprecating boundaries and increasing socio-cultural amalgamation would, without any journalistic medium, be nothing more than a Picasso artwork, bits & pieces fitted together making no sense of the obvious, oblivious to each others’ existence. The world would be in chaos, plagued by a burgeoning population that is largely uninformed, or worse, ill-informed. Without media, one wouldn’t know that halfway across the world, a Gandhi and a Mother Teresa were doing the great things that they did, or that, a Hitler was born and that, a Hitler was overthrown. Would it even be thinkable that the Gangnam style, born out of a Korean music video would have Ban-Ki-Moon dance on it in a UN conference to promote brotherhood, without the advent of social media? The answer is a blunt no. Without journalism, there will be no impact. There would hardly be any real-time effect of a high-profile meeting between Heads of States, or framing of practises to curb global warming, since there would be no one to report the outcome of the high-profile meet or advocate the ill-effects of global warming to the masses. This way, the urban would stagnate in its development while the rural would be in an unnerving state of isolation.
The alacrity present in the nature of journalists sets them in a league of their own. One might argue that we have mechanisms like the Police forces and the Judiciary in place to prevent injustice and crimes, but the case rests that the Police roll into action only when they are alerted of a crime, and the Judiciary serves justice to only those cases that reaches her chambers. The journalists are the sole vigilantes in the society, trained to sniff out megalomaniacs, operating under a seemingly calm surface at the behest of the honest & humble citizen, and that’s why their absence would only lead to exploitation and despair in the community. Without them, there would be no voice of the masses.
Another dimension which journalists preserve is democracies. Without their correspondence, the very essence of a democracy would be dishevelled, and democracies will simply cease to be democracies. There would be no trusted moderator between various perspectives to give an unbiased yet well-researched opinion on common issues. While some may remain ignorant and precarious towards their living conditions, those who would wish to raise a voice against misdemeanours would deem it inscrutable, because a voice is of no use unless it is heard. This is preciously where the crucial role of a journalist comes into play. Because he knows the definition of a democracy and the fallacies that could potentially wreak havoc in the system, it is his purpose to keep a vigil and bring to light stories of human rights abuse, gender inequality, corruption and the likes. An excellent example of the perils a society faces where journalism is primitive is the case of the Armenian Genocide. A premeditated destruction of Armenian lives and heritage with no real-time coverage by the media not only allowed for massive extermination to go unnoticed but also has Armenian Diaspora fighting for its recognition as a bona-fide historical event today.
In the times of rising adversities, journalists play another precious role, they provide hope to citizens of the world that no matter what language you speak, what traditions you follow or what race you belong to, we are all united by the common thread of humanity. Journalism keeps alive that human spirit which beckons citizens halfway across the world to help rebuild communities after Katrina and Fukushima, it promulgates atrocities in Rwanda to human rights agencies to enable humanitarian action and most importantly, journalists ensure that no one even in the remotest corner of Earth feels isolated and that the achievements and laureates of mankind is broadcast far and wide to make us proud to be a part of this human race. Suffice to say, it was probably not Pandora but a journalist who opened Pandora’s Box. And that’s why, without journalism, this world would be unfathomable.