Speaking at the Dr Kailas Nath Katju lecture on ‘Appointment of Judges’, Vinod Mehta, Editor-in-Chief of Outlook, outlined the similarities between the Media and the Judiciary. According to Mehta, “Journalists and the Media are very similar to Judges and the Judiciary in two aspects. Firstly, both want every stakeholder of the society to introspect and look within and improve themselves. Secondly, both do not want any interference from outside or accountability or government intervention. Media propagates self-regulation and does not want interference from the government in any manner, while the Judiciary, too, wants to do an internal review.”
Mehta further said, “To some extent that is understandable, as while the government might not be a foe of Media and Judiciary, certainly recent events have proved that it is not a friend either.”
Stating tongue-in-cheek, he added, “Amongst the four pillars of democracy that we know, which ones are thriving? Of course, Media and Judiciary.”
Mehta was speaking at a function where former speaker of the Lok Sabha, Somnath Chatterjee, was the Guest of Honour, while the keynote speaker was noted jurist Fali S Nariman. Noted legal luminaries Justice JS Varma and KK Venugopal also shared their views.
Mehta also shared that during his lifetime as a media professional and an editor, he was shamed by the recent developments where one could buy news as packaged deal with advertising. “We as media professionals have to deal with slants, plants, shrill journalism, and now this practice of selling packages, which includes editorial, is a big menace and eats into the credibility of the Media.”
He stressed that even as former President of the Editor’s Guild of India in 1995, he had made sure that such practices were nipped in the bud.