Question - Beloved Osho, What is Healthy Journalism?
Can Journalism survive on positive news? Please explain your vision on
the responsibility of the media.
Osho - Nandita, by healthy journalism, I mean journalism which nourishes the whole personality of man -- his body, his mind, his soul -- journalism whose whole concern is to create a better humanity, not just to report what is happening. Journalism should not be just a news medium, it should also be great literature -- then it is healthy. Even yesterday's newspaper should remain of some worth, so that even today it can be read. It should not be so momentary. But if you are only a news medium then naturally, once the day has passed, the news is old. You should make something that never becomes old, and always remains new.
That's what great literature is. Dostoevsky's novels,
or those of Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, or Turgenev, Rabindranath Tagore
... they will remain significant as long as humanity remains, and as
fresh as ever.
Bring the essential in. You have poets, you have painters, you have writers, you have spiritual giants -- you can introduce all of them. They should be your major part, and politics should be just your third page, or fourth page -- or maybe no page! You have made these politicians so huge, so exaggerated, and then the whole country suffers. The whole world is suffering because of these people, and you will have to take responsibility for it. These people should be cut down to size and put in their place. Somebody may be the president of the country; that doesn't mean much. The question is whether he is a great president; the quality is the question.
It happened when Abraham Lincoln became the president: The first day in the Senate, the aristocrats were very much arrogant and angry because he was not an aristocrat; he was the son of a shoemaker. And one aristocrat could not resist his temptation, and stood up. He said, "Mr. Lincoln, before you start your speech" -- that was the inaugural speech -- "I want you to remember that you are the son of a shoemaker."
The whole Senate clapped and laughed; they wanted to humiliate Abraham Lincoln. But you cannot humiliate a man like him. He stood silently and as the clamor died, he said, "I am very grateful to you, that you reminded me of my great father. I know my frailties, my weaknesses; I can never be as great a president as he was a great shoemaker. I stand as no comparison. My father was a great artist. I will try my best, but I know I cannot surpass him."
The Senate was shocked, but they recognized that this is not the kind of man whom you can humiliate. And he said to the man who had raised the question, "How have you remembered him? Because I remember perfectly well: my father used to go to your house also. Are you wearing the shoes made by my father? Are they pinching? Because I know something, I can mend them. I am not a great artist, but just by working with my father I have learned a little bit. So if any of you have any trouble with your shoes, you can always depend on me."
A president, just by being a president, is not much, but his quality ... Talk of the qualities, don't talk of personalities. A prime minister, just by being the prime minister, does not mean anything. Talk about the qualities -- what has he done to the country, what is he capable of doing? Provoke him to do it.
Days go on passing ... I have seen these forty years passing. My whole family was involved in the freedom struggle, all of them had been in jails; we suffered as children. In my childhood I used to ask my father, "Are you certain that the freedom you are fighting for will ever come? It is possible that the British may go, but are you certain that the people who replace them will be better? I can understand that you are fighting against slavery, but I don't think you have any idea that you are fighting for freedom; you don't have any positive program."
The whole liberation movement in India was running without any positive program. And the result is that forty years have passed, and the country has been falling down and down. When I started speaking thirty years ago, the population of the country was four hundred million. I spoke in favor of birth control methods, and I was stoned, my meeting was disturbed. And next time when I reached that city, I was not allowed to get off the train. Two hundred Hindu chauvinists were standing on the platform; they would not let me get out.
And now the country's population has reached nine hundred million. By the end of this century it will pass one billion. For the first time in history, India will be ahead of China. Up to now, China was the most idiotic land; now India will be ahead of it. China has managed to cut its population, but your politicians don't have guts; they are afraid to tell the truth to people, because they have to get their votes.
Journalists should not be afraid of anybody; you are not dependent on anybody's votes. You should bring truth to the people: You are creating children -- but in fact you are creating death. By the end of this century, half of the country -- that means five hundred million people -- will be dying of starvation: one man out of two. You will be surrounded by corpses. What are your politicians doing about it? And if I speak for birth control methods, then shankaracharyas condemn me, then the politicians try to destroy my efforts, because it goes against the religious superstitions of the people.
No politician has even the courage to come and meet me. Indira asked ... six times she had appointments to come to me, and just one day before, she would cancel. Finally, I sent my secretary to ask her, "What nonsense is this? If you want to come, you come; if you don't want to come, nobody is inviting you. You have been asking ...." And then she told my secretary, "My colleagues prevent me. They say if I go there, it is dangerous for my political future." Because I don't have any votes! The shankaracharyas and the imams and the bishops will all withdraw their votes, if they see a politician coming to me.
And it is one of the wonders that none of them is able to argue. I have been challenging them, saying that I am ready for a public debate with anybody on any point, and those cowards ... none of them comes.
The journalists should bring to the public news of the people who are fighting for unpopular causes, because the unpopular causes are the future of man. The popular causes are the past, rotten heritage. The politician cannot have that courage, but the journalist can have it, and should have. Nandita, I call that journalism healthy.
And you are asking, "Can journalism survive on positive news?" I am not saying that; I am saying don't try just to survive on negative news. Bring out the positive, in all its beauty, and put the negative in the background; it should not be the focus. I don't want you just to be positive, I want you to be realists.
The negative side is a part of life, yes; death is a part of life. But that does not mean that you have to make your funeral ground in the middle of the market. You make your funeral ground outside the city, where you go only once and you don't come back. Why don't you make it in the middle of the bazaar so that everybody can see, passing by every day, that people are being burned?
It is part of life, so once in a while you can talk about the funeral, but don't focus on it. Death is certain, but life is more important. Talk about life, make life a celebration. Don't make people too much afraid of death.
Don't create a phobia with the negative; that's what I am saying. I am not saying that the media can survive only on the positive news -- that will be wrong, that will be half. The negative should be brought to light, but should not be emphasized. It should be criticized.
The positive should be supported, and the negative should be condemned. In that way you are not being simply positive, you are bringing both ... but the negative side is ugly. You know that in life we go on putting the negative out of the way, and we go on putting the positive in front. The same should be the attitude of a healthy journalism: the positive should be the goal. The negative should be used as a stepping stone to it, but never emphasized, because that creates in people's minds the idea that the negative is what life is all about. That is a very dangerous cancer of the soul.
Source - Osho Book "The New Dawn"
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