'Shouting by MPs in Parliament is not always misbehaviour'

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New Delhi, Jan 18 (UNI) Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha K Rehman Khan today called upon the media to give due coverage to legislative debates in Parliament.

''Media should do balanced and positive reporting of the business in the Houses and always see to it that important issues are not ignored, especially the legislative debates,'' Mr Khan said speaking at the valedictory session of the four-day orientation course for journalists organised by the Rajya Sabha.

The topic of discussion at the concluding session was 'Impact of Live Coverage of Parliamentary Proceedings on their News Value'.

The Deputy Chairperson said journalists should take extra care to ensure correctness in their reporting.

He assured mediapersons of full cooperation from the Rajya Sabha secretariat in their task.

''The House also has to find out ways of ensuring that journalists are provided needed information from us so that debates are truthfully and adequately reported in the media,'' he added.

''The public has the right to know, the media has the right to report, but Parliament also has the right not to be misreported,'' said the Deputy Chairperson.

Earlier, panelists expressed concern over the increasing corporatisation of the media which they said was mainly responsible for sidelining the real issues of the people raised in Parliament.

One of them, Satish K Singh, Editor of Zee News, however, felt that MPs were also wasting their time in Parliament in ''unfruitful business'' which was of no substantial news value.

However, veteran Parliamentarian J P Agarwal disagreed with him contending that a lot of good work was being done in Parliament, which had got very efficient and knowledgeable Members well aware of the ground reality in the country, but their speeches and work were not adequately reported by the media.

He admitted that there was someting bad also happening, but said one should bear in mind that not everytime shouting in Parliament should be taken as misbehaviour.

One might just be wanting to make a point by speaking loud when not being listened to by the Chairperson or the Speaker, he stressed.

National Affairs Editor of CNN-IBN Diptosh Majumdar, who initiated the discussion said because of the compulsion of having news of immediate political relevance, sometimes great speeches and debate in Parliament die unnoticed if something politically sensational takes place the same day.

''In fact we do not pay attention to the faceless MP who is trying to raise some local issue of great importance to the people in his constituency,'' he said.

MP Harish Rawat said it was unfortunate that MPs who work hard and speak meaningfully in the Houses are ignored by the media.

They all agreed that live coverage of Parliament proceedings was making MPs more accountable to the people of their constituency, despite the fact that it sometimes encouraged some of them into acting in a manner so as to catch attention for the wrong reason.

The discussion was moderated by former Rajya Sabha Secretary General R C Tripathi. Besides, existing Secretary Genaral R K Agnihotri and other senior officials and journalists were present on the occasion.


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