Justice Katju slams Indian media for priority given to Dev Anand’s death

Kolkata, Dec 7: Press Council Chairman Justice Markandey Katju, who has stirred a hornet’s nest with his critical comments about the media, attacked the prominence given to the coverage of actor Dev Anand’s death.
Putting the news of an actor’s death on the front page when farmers were committing suicide and there were more pressing social and economic issues to be addressed only showed a “lack of sense of priority”, he said.
“I had also watched his films when I was young and also liked them,” the former Supreme Court judge said disapproving the wide prominence given to the news of the actor’s death.
Katju said that 2.5 lakh farmers had committed suicide in the last fifty years but barring some exceptions and journalists like P Sainath, who were doing commendable work, most of the media was simply ignoring these issues.
“The country is facing several socio-economic problems, there is poverty, price rise and incidents like farmers’ suicides. Isn’t all that more important,” Katju asked.
“Katju said that it was high time that the media woke up to its role and corrects itself,” he said and added that people had expectations from the media.
Katju also said that he had written to the members of the Press Council regarding Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah’s suggestion that the Council come up with guidelines for journalists who went for the coverage of protests and demonstrations.
He said that based on the response of the Council members it would be decided whether guidelines should be formulated for journalists covering protests.
Some journalists from Kashmir had complained that they had been roughed up by police personnel while covering a protest.
Katju had raised the matter with Abdullah who had suggested that there should be guidelines and a code of conduct for journalists so that law and order personnel don’t confuse them with protestors.


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