Doctoral student, writer, journalist and avid reader
Prashanth Bhat is a PhD student with Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland-College Park. He has a Master’s degree in film and media arts from The American University, Washington, D.C. and a Bachelor’s degree in communication and journalism from Osmania University, Hyderabad. Bhat worked for Times of India, Deccan Chronicle and TV9 in India before going to U.S to attend graduate school. He has interned at National Geographic Channel, Voice of America, China Central Television, Centre for Civil Society and has worked as a short-term consultant with The World Bank Group.
It would have been a fitting tribute to Ramnath Goenka if the organisers had taken advantage of the high-decibel media presence to discuss factors that are threatening professional values, journalistic autonomy, media ethics and public service reporting, instead of using it as another opportunity to invite a Bollywood star and reap mileage out of his controversial remarks.
Last week's arrest of more than 40 couples by the Mumbai Police for 'indecent behaviour' is an example of this conflict between society with its changing values and our farcical laws. Enforcing Section 110 of the Bombay Police Act-1951, the police dragged young couples out of private hotel rooms and detained them for hours in the police station.
Bans have become the default reaction of the state and Central governments whenever something goes wrong. Be it Uber for compromising on the safety of its passengers or Maggi for its excessive lead content, bans have come to be the government's one-stop solution to diffuse all controversies. But the big question governments need to answer is-- have they been successful in enforcing these bans?