Social media, a powerful tool for attaining information

SOCIAL MEDIA forums such as Facebook, and Twitter, along with citizen journalism, have a vast future in India as it provides information at a tremendous speed and covers various topics that are ignored by the traditional media due to various reasons.

Besides, journalists should use Right to Information (RTI) Act for getting sensitive information, which is hidden in government files. This was the broader consensus in a Certificate in Public Policy for Hindi journalists. It was a programme organised by Centre for Civil Society, a Delhi based organisation at Faridabad in Haryana last week. Various experts from the field of social media and other fields talked about ethics in journalism, governance, accountability, transparency, delivery and issue of balancing public and private welfare while deciding property rights. It was attended by around 12 journalists, which also included this scribe.

Talking about the role of social media, Sanjay Johan said that time has gone when journalists used to wait for formal press conferences to get the government's version. Twitter has provided an opportunity for so many breaking news items. He mentioned that L.K. Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Omar Abdullah besides along with many film stars regularly tweet.

While admitting that existing print media will also have its role to play, he said print media should not be afraid that social media will take over print media. He said that many newspapers have started their e-papers and later added that due to certain reasons and service compulsions, officers do not tweet.

Eminent journalists such as Shamlal Yadav asked the journalists to use RTI act for getting important stories. Manish Sisodia asked for a strong Lokpal to get rid of corruption. Journalists Ved Partap Vaidik and Anurag Batra spoke about ethics in journalism. Parth J. Shah said that we can bring social change through public policies.

Amir Ullah Khan voiced his opinion on an individual’s property, which could be acquired for public purpose but affected persons should be adequately compensated. R.C Jain and T.K. Mathew cautioned that the new right to education bill will lead to forced closure of large number of private schools. Shbhranshu Choudhary shared his views as to how he had started raising issues about the voices of people of Chhattisgarh, which are ignored by mainstream newspapers. In the end, all the participants were thanked for their active participation.

Publication: 
Meri News
Publication Date: 
14 June 2011