As the fourth pillar of democracy, the responsibility of journalism is to keep the country standing firm. However, what we often forget is that pillars also need a solid foundation to stand on.
India has rarely provided that foundation to its journalists. As things get worse with each passing day, we see voices being curbed on a daily basis. Additionally, we also notice more and more people compromising with the dignity of their profession to please the government.
Keeping this context in mind, the job of those daring to speak the truth becomes unfortunately dangerous and inevitably, necessary. Here are examples of journalists who are showing their counterparts how the job is done.
1. News anchor Hashmi Taj Ibrahim putting things as they are, and holding the government accountable for the lack of oxygen in the national capital that is leading to the death of many.
2. Ravish Kumar giving this humane monologue on the migration of daily wage workers during the nation-wide lockdown last year.
While it has been argued that the job of a news anchor is just to deliver facts, showing empathy in the face of appalling indifference is something that isn't just acceptable, but also important.
3. Faye D'Souza entering a COVID-19 ICU ward when many mainstream anchors were busy running propaganda on behalf of the government.
4. Journalist Tanushree Pandey fearlessly following and questioning the police as they forcibly cremated the body of Hathras rape victim.
She followed the police through the night, and was actually the one to break the news that the body of the woman was cremated in a rush and against the will of her family.
Tanushree faced a lot of harassment in the following days, to the extent that her phone was tapped.
HAPPENING NOW — #Hathras rape victim’s body has reached her native village, Boolgarhi in Hathras, where the horrific incident took place. SP, DM, Joint Magistrate all here accompanying the family. My camera person Wakar and I will get you all the updates all through the night pic.twitter.com/VxEWDVVpsU— Tanushree Pandey (@TanushreePande) September 29, 2020
What happened that night, and before, was unfortunate and without Tanushree's efforts (and that of her team), things may have looked a bit different and the narrative may have been changed to suit those in power.
ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE - Right behind me is the body of #HathrasCase victim burning. Police barricaded the family inside their home and burnt the body without letting anybody know. When we questioned the police, this is what they did. pic.twitter.com/0VgfQGjjfb— Tanushree Pandey (@TanushreePande) September 29, 2020
5. Rana Ayuub not mincing any words and holding the head of the state accountable for lives lost due to Covid. Here is her hard-hitting piece in Time.
6. Amid baseless claims that there is no oxygen shortage in the country, Barkha Dutt showing us what the reality is.
When they lie to you and to the highest court of the land and claim there is no shortage of Oxygen, show them this. When they call you vultures and care more about their image than citizens dying, show them this. My ground report on India Gasping for @themojostory pic.twitter.com/iluOdbfhJ5— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) May 3, 2021
7. Independent journalist Mandeep Punia bringing the ground reality of the farmers' protests. He got arrested for the same but came back stronger with notes made in the jail on his legs.
While these are some of the prominent names, the list is long. There are many journalists who are putting themselves in dangerous positions and even risking their lives to bring out the truth.
And while we are eternally grateful, we also wait for the day when doing their job ceases to be so tough for them.