A group of journalists and editors from the press who had gone to cover the review visit by Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant of the new Mopa Airport on Friday were left waiting for more than three hours. The journalists, who were eager to scrutinise and learn more details about each structure erected at the airport, were relegated to taking pictures and videos. While attempts were made to bide time with biscuits and tea, there was a general air of animosity that grew with each passing hour as the journalists were left without clarity about how soon the programme would move along.
When the presentation did start, much later than expected, several pertinent questions were left unanswered or ignored, with the same discourteous attitude displayed before. Unfortunately, disgruntled journalists who had vowed to boycott the presentation, gave in when it actually began.
The question that now remains is whether this high-handed behaviour on the part of the establishment and their lackeys is being fuelled by the willingness of some journalists to grovel.
We cannot lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of the organisers. It is our own apathy and unwillingness to take a stand against such insolent behaviour. We, journalists, call ourselves the watchdogs of society, and we cannot take to task those that display a disrespectful attitude. How can we expect the common man to keep his trust in us and believe what we write and preach?
A dog that does not bark when it senses something dangerous or untoward is of no value to his master (society). We might as well be public relations (PR) agencies and social media teams, providing promotional content. The reason we journalists stand apart is because we are required to conduct objective reportage and supply impartial analyses.
There were several pressing questions that needed answering on Friday. But neither did the journalists get the chance to pose their valid questions nor were they allowed to accompany the CM during his review visit. One such question of significance was related to the hundreds of villagers agitating outside the airport gate.
On encountering the crowd, the bus carrying the journalists was taken back to the administrative building. Of course, it was done to avoid bad publicity. But already social media was full of protest videos and posts since the afternoon.
According to a local source, it was learnt that these villagers were agitating because they wanted to question the CM about the promised compensation, jobs for the locals, etc. After the Panjim-based journalists left the airport, the CM along with Pernem MLA Pravin Arlekar met these agitating locals, the source added.
This opinion piece calls for self-analysis on the part of Goan journalists. If we allow ourselves to be taken for granted, similar incidents will repeat in the future. It is our duty as hard-working, upright journalists of Goa to set an example for our people.