New Delhi: Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu Sunday asserted that a strong and vibrant democracy cannot survive without a free, unfettered and fearless press.
He further stressed upon the need of a robust, independent and vibrant media that will help to strengthen the roots of democracy. Naidu further warned about the erosion of the values in the media.
Naidu further said, “News should not be mixed with views.’
The Vice President was addressing a gathering at the Press Club of Bangalore to mark the Club’s 50th anniversary year where he observed that a free and fair Press complements an independent judiciary when it comes to strengthening the constitutional rule of law.
Noting that in the past, journalism was considered a mission in which news was sacrosanct, Naidu underscored the fact that good journalism hinges on unbiased and truthful coverage of events and in their credible transmission to the people.
Referring to several legendary news editors of yesteryears like Khasa Subba Rau, Frank Moraes and Nikhil Chakravarty, Vice President said they never coloured news with their opinion and always respected the Lakshman Rekha between news and opinion. He suggested that news professionals today should take inspiration from journalism stalwarts who contributed immensely during the freedom struggle and during the Emergency.
Stressing that news must not be tempered with views, he advised media persons never to compromise on facts and to always present them without fear or favour.
Expressing concern over the steep decline in journalistic standards over the years, Naidu said that the recent rise of social media has only muddied the waters further. “Today, we find news constantly fused with opinion. So much so that sometimes one tends to feel that neither newspapers nor television channels give an accurate picture of some events,” he added.
He suggested that the Parliament and the government look into the matter of fake news on social media and come up with an effective and reliable way to deal with fake news.
Drawing attention to biased news presentation and agenda-driven coverage of events, Vice President said that the practitioners of such journalism are doing a grave disservice to their profession because authenticity and credibility form the cornerstone of journalism.
Expressing his concern over falling standards of public discourse, Naidu wanted political parties to self-regulate themselves by adopting a code of conduct for their members in legislatures and in public life. He advised public representatives to refrain from making personal attacks on their political adversaries. He also called for a relook at Anti-Defection Law to address any shortcomings.
Stressing that members should debate, discuss and decide in a meaningful way in the legislatures, Vice President said the media should highlight constructive speeches in Parliament and legislatures instead of disruptions. He cautioned against sensationalising news and giving undue attention to disruptors in the Parliament and legislatures.
first published:April 24, 2022, 6:04 p.m.