New Delhi: After his controversial remarks
about the media Press Council of India Chairman Justice
Markandey Katju has said "most people in India are of a very
low intellectual level, steeped in casteism, communalism,
superstitions and all kinds of feudal and backward ideas".
Given this, the argument that the media should provide
programmes and news as per the tastes of viewers degrades it
to an ordinary business dealing in commodities, he said.
"My point is, and I have stated this several times,
including in my interview with Karan Thapar, that the media is
not like an ordinary business dealing with commodities. It
deals with ideas," Katju wrote on Friday in a letter to a
"Hence, to say that the media should supply the viewer
whatever the viewer wants is really reducing the media to an
ordinary business dealing with commodities and degrading it,"
Katju further said.
Katju wrote the letter in response to a reader`s comment
on a website which had published an article by Katju. The
mediaperson whom Katju addressed the letter had brought his
attention to this comment.
"The comment mentions that the media must provide the
customer what it wants. Unfortunately, most people in India
are of a very low intellectual level, steeped in casteism,
communalism, superstitions, and all kinds of feudal and
backward ideas," Katju said in his letter.
"The Indian masses today are very backward, as I have
already mentioned, full of casteism, commualism, supersititous
and against equality for women", he said.
"Should our media then become casteist, communal, and
promote superstitions and condone oppression of women?" he
"In my opinion", according to Justice Katju, "it should
not, rather it should attack these backward and feudal ideas
and help our country in coming into the modern age by
propagating modern, rational and scientific ideas.
"Should the Indian media go down to that low level by
pandering to the tastes of the masses and perpetuating their
backwardness or should the Indian media seek to raise the
intellectual level of the Indian masses by propagating
rational and scientific ideas and make them part of
enlightened India?" he said.
Katju said that in the past the European media had played
a "historical and glorious role" in educating the public.
"The European media played a historical and glorious role
in the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries ( that is, the period
when Europe was undergoing its transition from feudal to
modern society ) by propagating the ideas of liberty,
equality, fraternity, and secularism, which were, for that
period, revolutionary ideas," Katju wrote.
"I would like the Indian media too to play such a
historical and glorious role, and thereby win the respect of
the Indian people," he further said.
"No doubt the media has also to provide some
entertainment to the people. But if 90 percent of its coverage
is devoted to entertainment like lives of film stars, fashion
parades, disco dancing, pop music cricket etc and only 10
percent to the real issues facing our masses, which are mainly
socio-economic, like poverty, unemployment, price rise, health
care, education housing etc, then in my opinion the sense of
proportion of the media has gone haywire," Katju wrote.
"I am not against the media, and I have unfortunately
been misrepresented. The Indian media has a historical role to
play in the present transitional period which India is going
through. That is because the role of ideas becomes extremely
important in the period of transition and the media deals
with ideas," Katju wrote.
"If the Indian media corrects itself and helps the people
go forward into the modern age it will win the respect of the
Indian people. I only wanted to remind the Indian media of its
historical duty to the country," Katju added.