15 Dec 2017
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Narendra Modi, Venkaiah Naidu bat for govt non-interference in media and self-regulation

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the media to self-regulate and said that there should not be any government interference in its functioning.

Stressing on the need to protect the freedom of the media, Modi said that external control of press is not good for the society. Media should draw its limits through an internal process and not an external intervention.

Narendra ModiThe prime minister’s remarks comes in the wake of the government ordering NDTV India to go off the air for a day for allegedly revealing ‘strategically sensitive’ details while covering the Pathankot terrorist attack. Following criticism, the government put its ban order in abeyance.

Modi expressed concern over the recent killings of journalists in some parts of the country. Journalists losing their lives in the quest for telling the truth is an extremely serious development, he said.

He was speaking on the occasion of National Press Day organised by Press Council of India. The occasion also marked the Golden Jubilee of the Press Council of India.

Speaking earlier, Information & Broadcasting minister M. Venkaiah Naidu also stressed on self-regulation by media but added that “there should be a mechanism” if this did not happen. Necessary restraint has to be exercised keeping in mind the protection of sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the nation, and law & order situation in the country.

Venkaiah-Naidu1Naidu said that the government, however, does not believe in imposing ban on any medium of communication.

He said the electronic media coverage of Mumbai terrorist attacks received backlash from the Supreme Court, which mentioned that “any attempt to justify the conduct of the TV channels by citing the right to freedom of speech and expression would be totally wrong and unacceptable in such a terrorist situation”.

Regarding the recent case of Pathankot coverage, Naidu highlighted how electronic media coverage could put lives of both civilians and armed personnel in danger.

Naidu said regional media assumes importance due to its proximity to local communities and local language. This enhances the participatory potential of citizens. Regional Media plays an important role in building participatory democracy by reaching out to all sections of society. In a federal polity, regional media with its reach can help align the interests of the states with that of the nation.

Regarding the government’s New Print Media Advertisement Policy, Naidu said it promotes equity-based regional outreach by providing relaxation in empanelment procedure to provide special encouragement for regional language and small and medium newspapers.

On the opportunities offered by social media, the minister said that it was a new tool of communication which was spontaneous and interactive. Such a medium was both an opportunity and a challenge. This mode of communication should be used judiciously for larger national and individual good.

Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore, Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting, and Justice C. K Prasad, Chairman Press Council of India, were also present on the occasion. Eminent journalists and photo journalists Surendra Nihal Singh, Mrinal Pande, Raghu Rai, Renjith John, Arvind Kumar Singh and Xavier Selva Kumar were awarded for their contribution to journalism.