Proud of having taken on India's iron lady and then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, after she had declared emergency in 1975, media icon Kuldip Nayar is sad that the flame of idealism in journalism has since been extinguished.
Nayar, now above 90, says the media has become more of commerce with mediapersons compromising idealism for pecuniary gains.
"Where's the profession now, journalists have become people who love jobs, perks and cars…the idealism is gone,"Nayar said during a panel discussion organised by Chandigarh University on the launch of its Institute of Media Studies on Sunday.
Nayar said it has become difficult for journalists to express themselves objectively due to growing interference by corporate owners. But, he said, he was more worried about those journalists who themselves got involved in politics.
"That's not our job,"he said, "This profession is important only as long as we guide the public opinion honestly."
However, other journalists on the panel did not share Nayar's despair. They pointed out that the traditional media had outlived its significance with the advent of the new media on the Indian landscape.
Senior editor of the CNN, Jyoti Kamal said ordinary people were now themselves taking up cudgels with the establishment. "It's a small stream, but it is growing,"he said.
However, prominent anchor and news reader Ritul Joshi cautioned about the pitfalls of social media. She quoted a survey which revealed that most people never verify news before posting it on micro-blogging sites like twitter.