Pillars of democracy in the country seem to be experiencing tremors nowadays even as the fourth pillar, The Press, particularly the print media, is stable, standing tall amidst the ruins as it were. Television, internet, websites and radio are keeping august company with newspapers, covering a wide variety of fields such as politics, business, sports, art, weather forecasts, local services, obituary, birthdays, health, science, matrimony, crosswords, editorials, cartoons, comic strips, government notifications, crime, public events and what have you. Starting initially in 17th century as information sheets for merchants, newspapers virtually herald daybreak for the literati all over the world, the rag having attained the status of addiction. The gentle sound of the daily tossed into the front courtyard by the delivery boys sounds like sweet music to the patrons of their favoured newspaper. Even the piping hot cuppa is relegated to second place in the scheme of things that roll out at daybreak for the urbanites. Finding any citizen across Kerala without peering into the columns of the daily as the first act in the morning is rarer than finding a white crow. Given the pittance one pays to buy a newspaper, the cost of getting the update about the world at large is next to nothing, a fact overlooked by most.
Keeping afloat in the business of publishing dailies rightly identified as information industry particularly on time and without a day’s break, being a challenging enterprise, is a matter of taking on the latest intruder namely digital technology-based devices, ubiquitous mobile telephone being the one to beat in the race for meeting expenses through subscription revenue, news stand sales and advertising revenue.
The lay sections of the newspaper-reading mass may not be aware that newspaper is an acronym for “North, East, West, South, Past and Present Report”. Virtually in line with the saying, “Let noble thoughts come to us from all directions,” drawn from Rig Veda (Aano bhadra Krtavo Yanthu Vishwatah). While spending the morning hours with the favoured rag for many may be entertainment, for the discerning literati, the matter printed on low grade paper called the newsprint is the most dependable source of information to understand the world better, and more importantly, to take better decisions of life, bearing on relationships with those who share the space within family and outside.
In these days, witnessing fake news freely circulating on social media platforms and the players going scot-free, newspapers providing authentic and credible information deserve to be patronized by all citizens if they wish to see the democracy’s strongest pillar to be unwavering in its selfless service in the cause of the nation’s progress for all time in future.