New Delhi,30 Apr:The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh has released the ‘Tribune 125 years – an anthology’ in New Delhi today. Addressing on the occasion to commemorate 125th anniversary of the Tribune, the Prime Minister said that If the media is confined only to “the here and now”, it ceases to play the role of the Fourth Estate. That important role is claimed only when media is able to take a larger view of daily events, shape public opinion in a constructive way and record history even as it is being made, he added. He also said that our media has been an important healer of our democracy. The Prime Minister hoped that it will continue to play a constructive role in nation building. Following is the text of the Prime Minister’s speech on the occasion:
“I am delighted to release this most interesting volume put together by the editors of Tribune. The Tribune has been my morning paper for many many years and I compliment my friend Shri H.K. Dua for taking the paper to newer heights. I also pay tribute to the memory of the visionary founder Sardar Dayal Singh Majithia and all those who have been associated with the publication of this great national daily. My esteemed friends Dr. Bambha, Justice Sodhi, Shri Talwar and Shri N.N. Vohra, among others, have all contributed to upholding the highest standards of journalism at the Tribune.
When Sardar Majithia founded The Tribune he saw it as a means of reforming society and educating our people. As I recalled at your 125th Anniversary, the statement of objectives penned by the founders of Tribune in 1881 remains a bold vision for the media even today. That statement began with the confession that Tribune had no pet theories to maintain and “no personal interests to serve”. The Paper’s founders declared that they were not motivated by pecuniary considerations. Rather, they were motivated by public good which was best advanced more by “charity and moderation than by rancor and harsh words”.
When I read through the first half of this very impressive volume, covering the period up to Independence, I was struck by how zealously the editors of the Tribune adhered to this original vision of their founder. The high mindedness of the editorials, the deep patriotism and nationalism of many of the writers and the focus on public good is indeed very striking. I was also impressed by the kind of people that Tribune attracted for its columns. Mahatma Gandhi contributed to the paper and so did Rabindranath Tagore. Many of the distinguished social, political, intellectual and business leaders of the period expressed their views on important contemporary issues through the columns of the Tribune.
This book shows clearly that Tribune was not just a source of daily news but also a record of history and an important opinion maker. It is these three roles that give the media a special place in a democracy. If the media is confined only to “the here and now”, it ceases to play the role of the Fourth Estate. That important role is claimed only when the media is able to take a larger view of daily events, shape public opinion in a constructive way and record history even as it is being made.
The combination of providing news, of shaping views and guiding societies is what gives the media a special status in a democracy. The essays published in this book show us that the Tribune’s editors and publishers have tried to discharge that role in an a very honourable way. They have remained faithful to the vision of Sardar Dayal Singh Majithia. They have upheld the value system which inspired our freedom struggle and post-independence drive for national reconstruction and development.
The Tribune is today read across large parts of northern India. This is a very diverse region. The area around New Delhi has become a magnet of new economic activity in the past two decades. I find some of this activity spreading towards Jaipur and into Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh. But other parts of Tribune’s hinterland are not doing so well. The Tribune’s original homeland of the Punjab has slowed down in recent years. The Punjab needs a new era of industrial and services sector development. Our Government has given the agrarian economy of the State a new boost with improved terms of trade for foodgrains and with incentives for horticultural development. But in agriculture too we need a new wave of creativity.
I have great confidence in the people of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Jammu & Kashmir and the rest of the region. I am confident that this region will move forward in years to come. I urge the State governments concerned to invest in infrastructure, invest in education and invest in urban development so that the regional economy can benefit from the new sources of growth now on the horizon in our economy.
I also find The Tribune taking active interest in national affairs. I acknowledge the well-informed support that Tribune has accorded to many of our initiatives in the realm of foreign policy and national security. I compliment Shri Dua for attracting good talent to his news and opinion pages. I compliment you for rising above the purely regional and local and offering a truly national perspective to the news.
Our democracy is our biggest strength. I do believe it has worked on the whole in the interest of our people. Our media has been an important healer of our democracy and I sincerely hope it will continue to play a constructive role in nation building, reinforcing the knowledge of our society and the confidence of our people. I hope this book will inspire a new generation of journalists to dedicate themselves to the highest standards of professionalism and journalism.”