2 Jan :The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony has called upon the media to be ‘a little careful’ in all aspects of reporting while covering events such as the recent terror attacks on Mumbai. Speaking at the Centenary Celebrations of the Armed Forces Journal ‘Sainik Samachar’ here today, Shri Antony said in such crisis situations, the Defence Forces and the Security Agencies must be allowed to work without exerting any pressure. ‘We must ensure that good work is done without endangering national security’, he said.
Sainik Samachar had started as Fauji Akhbar, an Urdu weekly on January 2, 1909. Its aim was to provide Army personnel with ‘a summary of news with a military bias’. It was re-christened as Sainik Samachar on April 04, 1954.
Shri Antony called upon the Editorial Team of Sainik Samachar not to use the magazine only as a chronicler of prominent events and incidents taking place in the Armed Forces but also to reflect the hopes and aspirations of Jawans. ‘Through the use of journalistic tools such as analytical articles and features, including photo features in Sainik Samachar, your effort must be to further boost the morale of our Jawans’. He also asked them to bring out the magazine both in print and its online version in all the Indian languages prescribed in the Constitution. ‘This is imperative to broadbase the overall reach of the publication to cover all corners of the country. The distribution mechanism of Sainik Samachar may also be further toned up, so that it reaches out to our Jawans in the remotest corners of the country and even to those engaged in UN Peacekeeping missions’. The Defence Minister said the Sainik Samachar must aim to provide quality information and entertainment in adequate proportion. ‘Sainik Samachar must endeavour to build upon its credibility and reliability in the eyes of its target audience – the Armed Forces’. He also asked the Sainik Samachar team to strive to strike a delicate balance between countering the disinformation campaign of certain vested interests inside and outside the country and sounding like an official propaganda machinery.
Shri Antony commended the Armed Forces for displaying exemplary determination both in times of war and peace but lamented that at times they don’t get their rightful space in the media. He said modern technology has facilitated the transmission of news in real time the world over. ‘However, speed must not compromise with the accuracy of reporting’, he said.
The Defence Minister released a Coffee Table Book ‘Soldiering On…’ on the occasion. The book is an anthology of articles, rare photographs and documents relating to the history of the Indian Armed Forces, spanning over the last 100 years. Shri Antony complimented the Editor-in-Chief of Sainik Samachar Shri DJ Narain and his team for their painstaking efforts in bringing out the book.
Speaking on the occasion, the Marshal of Air Force Arjan Singh called upon the Editorial Team to give more coverage in the Sainik Samachar to the activities of Soldiers in frontline areas and difficult terrain.
Additional Director General (Media & Communications) Shri Sitanshu Kar said the Coffee Table Book provides a rare glimpse into the history of India in the last 100 years. He said the book will also be translated in all the twelve other language editions of Sainik Samachar including Hindi and will be brought out in special commemorative volumes.
The function was attended among others by the Chief of Air Force Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major, the Chief of Army Staff General Deepak Kapoor, the Defence Secretary Shri Vijay Singh, the Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral RP Suthan and Deputy NSA Shri Shekhar Dutt.