Responsible Opinions

Ms Sagarika Ghose (whom I fondly remember only because of this God-level pwnage by the great Ram Jethmalani) recently blocked a couple of people (maybe more) on her Twitter page for calling her education and/or mental development into question. That happened because of her very unimaginative repartee. Some examples of it here, here and here.
(Of course, she should be doing more of this instead.)
Then this was written.

Three points of view in the post and its comments section: “If you don’t like it don’t follow”, “Everyone has a right to say what they feel” and finally “Opinion leaders are liable for their opinions”. I belong to the last camp.

Yes, I agree everyone has a right to their opinion, but not all opinions are born equal. There are those among us whose thoughts count for more than the average because of the number of people hanging onto their words and the garb they voice it under. Regrettably, Sagarika Ghose falls into this category. She openly represents CNN-IBN on her Twitter page, which makes it clear that she is tweeting in an official capacity. If so, her followers would expect her to adhere to the standards that (supposedly) come with being a journalist. At least, I think so.

We have no issues with myriad Bollywood celebs and their “Love you guys, mmmmuuuaah” inanities because they are mostly followed for entertainment value.

How would you like Shashi Tharoor saying “I think SM Krishna can kiss my ass” on his Twitter page?

If your response is “I don’t give a Tharoor’s ass about what other people are saying”, it doesn’t imply that you respect their right to free speech. It just says that you don’t….well…care. And chances are you probably don’t care for meaningful interaction anyway.

That said, there is always a time and place to vent and God knows we all need such opportunities. I’m not changing the world anytime soon, and that’s why I can gratuitously use “F*** you” on my Twitter page, discuss the impact of the iPad or scribble the occasional “I’m bored”. But not people like Ghose, Tharoor, Sardesai et al. Why is it wrong to hold them to the standards expected of their professions?

If Sagarika Ghose starts tweeting under @GhoseWhoRants, then that’s totally OK.

Then she’s not fooling us anymore.

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10 responses to “Responsible Opinions”

  1. Joy says :

    I was reading the NYT policy on Social Media where they say, ““Be careful not to write anything on a blog or a personal Web page that you could not write in The Times” and our Indian channels need to have something similar in place. But when it’s a ‘family run business’ it just seems like too much to ask.

  2. Kuljeet Kaveeshwar says :

    We are no more liable for your own words ? Her first and then perhaps her employers, even if she “twits” in official capacity.

    As for “everyone has a right to their opinion” I recommend you read some about Barkha Dutt’s ways. Heres one http://www.writingcave.com/barkha-dutt-forces-a-blogger-to-take-down-blog-post-and-apologize/ this ones a shocker especially coming from a journalist. Their life/jobs are based on the premise “Freedom of speech”?

    • daddysan says :

      Agree, she is responsible for her own words. Even then I’d have no issues with her saying “Macho man, wanna fight” on her unofficial page. This is totally unacceptable.

      Barkha Dutt? Do unto others only that which you won’t want to do unto yourself.

  3. i_r_squared says :

    I think I know whose comments prompted this post and yes, they were rather unnecessarily unpleasant and very i-don’t-give-a-hoot.

    There’s really no point trying to have a debate with someone who only cares to the extent that they don’t care and don’t understand why everyone else does (however odd that sounds). Appreciate your support on the comments to my post :)

    • daddysan says :

      No problems. I fully agree with the 6-yr old assessment.

      Also, if you don’t care about something, why should we care to hear that you don’t care? You fall outside the consideration set by default.

      All this hubris makes for much unpleasantness.

  4. Patrix says :

    You can only hold her liable by questioning her employer’s judgments in letting her be the face of the CNN-IBN network. If CNN-IBN feels fine that we consider her opinions to be that of the network then our questioning should be directed at them.

    • daddysan says :

      In a way. I wonder if they have the standard disclaimer “Our journalists do not necessarily reflect the views of CNN-IBN” :D

      For me it’s another question – how can they allow this to continue? Of course I have been told on Twitter that I don’t work in CNN-IBN and so I should shut up.

      • Patrix says :

        I would consider it CNN-IBN’s fault for letting her run amok. As irsquared pointed out, if it was her personal account and had that disclaimer, it wouldn’t be that bad. But I have learnt to ignore such people and spend my time on better things on the inter webs.

        • daddysan says :

          Tr00 Tr00. But what to do? She’s a respected journalist and all.

          No Indian News channel has anyone of repute. FWIW Prannoy Roy used to inspire a possibly false sense of comfort, credibility and familiarity.

          Sent from my iPhone

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