He was the managing editor of the news channel IBN 7. He left his job with a dream in mind: to clean the dirty politics of India. He is the inspiration for the youth of India. Ardent follower of the philosophy that action speaks louder than words, Ashutosh Gupta talks to Vox Populi about journalism, politics, AAP and how does he plan to make a difference.
Vox: Sir, journalism basically refers to the collection and dissemination of information to the audience. How do you define the objectives of journalism?
Ashutosh: The public is the ultimate target of the media and therefore acting in their interest is both an ethical and pragmatic concern for the journalists. The entire world of journalism has undergone a huge change. Initially the main objective of journalism was to obtain information, filter it and accurately present it to the junta without any manipulations. But if we happen to look today, the scene is entirely different. The journalist today is more concerned about the new issues dominating the political scene and above all, change is the underlying theme of the socio-political discourse. They collect information from all sources and report it to the people along with their point of view and I think there is nothing wrong with it. For example, The Guardian newspaper follows the left ideology and The Economist magazine follows the right. Presenting your opinion is not a problem but manipulating the news so as to affect the opinion of people is wrong.
Vox: Your views on objective journalism.
Ashutosh: We have different newspapers in India. The same news when read in Times of India and when read in The Indian Express appears different. I believe there is no such thing as ‘objective information’ or ‘objective news reporting’. What I think will depend on the kind of socio-political upbringing I had. And therefore all this has added and abetted the collapse of objectivity as a journalistic standard. Objectivity makes us passive recipients of news rather than aggressive analyzers and propagators of it.
Vox: You were at the head of the news channel and at the pinnacle of your journalistic career. And then politics happened. Why?
Ashutosh: Traditional politics is something I always disliked and I never had plans to get into it. When AAP came into picture I realized that it was different. I observed their functioning and style of politics that they were into and their willingness to clean the dirty politics of our country. It influenced me to take this step.
Vox: You wrote the book ‘ Anna- The 13 days that awakened India’ and also now since you are into politics, how do you deal with the criticism you receive?
Ashutosh: Transition from journalism to politics changed my mindset and also the way I deal with things. Journalists are imperfect people doing a job that is crucial to the society. I always did things that I had a strong conviction for. Now, since I am into politics, I accept everything that comes my way and I feel motivated to create a difference to the society.
Vox: A message for Journalism Society, IIT Kanpur
Ashutosh: Journalists strive to keep the public’s trust because it is on the foundation of trust that the information is collected and exchanged. Honesty towards work is the main key. Always be true to information. Public trusts journalists to provide accurate and valuable information otherwise the journalist’s work will never be believed.
Written by Srishti Gautam and Aaditya Kumar