Chennai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an appeal to the media to concentrate on the reporting of facts, without fear or favour . He also remarked that there is a surfeit of reports on politics.
“I observe, that a lot of the media discourse today revolves around politics. It is only fair that politics be discussed at length, in a democracy. However, India is more than just us politicians. It is the 125 crore Indians, which make India what it is. I would be happy to see media focus a lot more, on their stories, and their achievements,” the Prime Minister said in an address delivered on the diamond jubilee of a Tamil newspaper, the Dina Thanthi .
Commenting on the role of newspapers, Mr Modi said, “Mankind’s quest for knowledge is as old as our history itself. Journalism helps quench this thirst. Today, newspapers do not just give news. They can also mould our thinking and open a window to the world. In a broader context, media is a means of transforming society. That is why, we refer to the media, as the fourth pillar of democracy. I am fortunate today, to be among those who demonstrate the power of the pen, and show how it can be the vital life-force and conscience of society.”
He emphasized that newspapers should also report on ‘duties’ of citizens. “We must never forget that successive generations performed the duties required of them, towards society, and the nation. That is how we achieved freedom. After independence, the rights of citizens gained importance in public discourse. Unfortunately, over time we seem to have neglected our individual and collective sense of duty. This has in some way contributed to several ills that plague our society today. The need of the hour is to create a mass awakening towards “engaged, responsible, and aware citizens.” The civic sense of “entitlement” must be suitably balanced by a civic sense of “responsible engagement.” This should happen, of course, through our education system, and the conduct of our political leaders. But the media too, has a key role to play here, he said.
The prime minister observed that the vernacular pres in India has grown from strength to strength, but it has to play a more responsible role in the dissemination of news.
“In our diverse nation, the role of vernacular newspapers – newspapers published in regional languages – remains as important today, as it was then. They carry content in a language that is easily understood by people. Very often, they cater to vulnerable and socially disadvantaged groups. Their strength, their impact, and thus, their responsibility, can never be under-estimated. They are the messengers of the intent and policies of the Government, in far-flung areas. Equally, they are the torch-bearers of the thoughts, feelings and emotions of our people, he said.”