When I was in college in Aligarh Muslim University, one day a small fight broke out among some people. That is the normal thing to do when in college. However, the next day’s papers reported that some terrorists were hiding in the University Campus and that the police recovered a small cache of explosives from one of the dorm rooms. Now, I was the usual naive kind during those days. I was shocked to learn that this fight, which happened over a girl, let’s not use her name, could snowball into such a thing. The police set the whole thing up and the media dutifully did its usual job of genuflecting before the powers to be. We protested the arrests but could not do much.
Let us fast forward to this day. In this age of blogs and citizen journalism, incidents like above stand a better chance of coming into public scrutiny. Eventually, this could even lead to corrective action. I can give out a number of issue-based citizen journalist actions in the Indian Blogosphere.
What brings people together?
I wish there were a straight-cut answer to this. Online publishing empowers people. This sense of power, where people hear you, where you are someone, is the most potent of forces. The times of faceless, drone-like lives are long gone. In the dynamic world of online publishing, who knows that the fiery writer of latest political exposes is a peon in the parliament? Moreover, what gives fire to this force of citizen journalism? IMHO, our constant strife for truth that eventually may lead to some justice.
Citizen journalism, in its true, unbiased form, triumphs over mainstream media (MSM) only because it sticks to the relentless pursuit of truth. The mainstream media is an incomplete media. The above terrorist story is just a one person’s opinion, namely, the editor of that paper. In this ‘there-is-someone-looking-over-your-shoulder’ age of citizen journalism, the moment you print something untruthful, there are people who will correct you immediately.
We should not shy away from these correctors. Truth is beauty; it will eventually break out free.