What is responsibility in writing?

It has been my philosophy, “It is better to stand up for one’s own beliefs and get kicked in the shin rather than lie down and get hit on the face”. Of course, I do stand up for my beliefs, without compromising at any instant, for I believe that my beliefs are ethically and morally stronger. I would recite the adage of Gautama Buddha in this context – “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” Don’t you find a near similarity in the above mentioned two dictums? Standing up for your own beliefs (if they are true both ethically and morally) is nothing but including yourself in your compassion.

I see nothing is a greater loss than the loss of one’s self-respect and bowing down the head for a trivial cause. My beliefs in writing are associated with some sort of self imposed responsibility. I strongly admit and second the thought of Adrienne Rich, in whose opinion – responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work. Isn’t this sensibly and well said?

I gave this entire overture to give a brief introduction to the topic, which I would like to discuss here. Out of a great zeal and passion I wanted to take up the task of writing for the media. Even this zeal and passion in me are stemmed from an inspiration drawn from my own life. Years before, I happened to read a saying once – “If you hate war, you should be able to prevent it!” It made me think over and over again, for I wanted to dig out the solution to prevent wars. After a great thinking and effort I found the solution. Wonder what? It is nothing but “effective communication”. Yes, in my opinion communication is something like Azithromycin, a macrolide antibiotic, which can be administered to a variety of diseases. So, it has been my desire to be an effective mass communicator. With that very zest, I had joined the media industry, after quitting a noble profession.

No sooner I joined the organization than I understood how the contemporary media organizations work – their purpose, functionality, and the extent to which the organizations follow ethics, et al. It’s no wonder that almost every organization might be on the same foot, else they would soon lose their business. Yes, the present-day media organizations are for sure business entities. But, does it mean that they (may not be all) should mortgage morals and ethics of journalism? Does it mean that no business has ethically founded roots? I wonder was that the same case of businesses of yesteryears?

I don’t generalize the media people by stating that all are not following journalistic ethics. Still, there are many journo who believe in true journalism and not in yellow journalism. But, of course, their count is meagre. I happened to question many media professionals on the same matter. The only answer I heard was – “We are forced to compromise”. “Compromise! For what?” was my next question, obviously? For this the answers were different and varied. If some media people have to compromise for the sake of their family members, some others have to compromise for some other sundry reasons. But, the only reason is – Compromise. “Compromise makes a good umbrella, but a poor roof” – I read it somewhere and sometime before. It’s always been inspiring too.

After a great mêlée with the prevailing situation, I repeatedly questioned myself if there was any scope to sermonize ethics to bring back the yesteryears of glory to journalism? The answer is yes with a star above that ‘yes’, indicating that yes we can bring back the glory, but some conditions apply. Those conditions are like struggling for a cause like Telangana statehood. It took 60 long years to make the dream of myriads a reality. So, it is nonetheless time consuming. I would like to see that day. Nonetheless, I could only be a meagre contributor for this great cause. So, I decided to write only those things which appear true to my heart and conscience.

For all this to happen, I need to be myself. Of course, I take it as a responsibility – responsibility to myself means I should refuse to let others do my thinking, talking, and naming for me; it means learning to respect and use my own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work.


Published by sumankasturi


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