Shimla : Ajay Mittal, Additional Chief Secretary has stressed the importance of credibility of media as it was the nerve of the society. Expressing concern over deterioration of values in all spheres and added that the press being fourth pillar of democracy, people had great expectations from the media in building a healthy society. He was presiding over an Interactive Session on Freedom of the Media organised by Information and Public Relations Department here today to mark the National Press Day.
Shri Mittal said that there was a dire need for self introspection in the field of journalism and added that media played vital role in dissemination of information to the masses which needed to be based on facts and truth. He said that credibility should not be eroded at any cost rather maintained. He said that the agenda setting by the media for the general good of the State was a welcome step it should be with good intention and media can be a good medium to find the way for solution of the problem. He said that with the expansion in media and technological advancement, the media should serve the society in the right perspective right by facing internal and external pressure.
Shri Mittal said that freedom of media should also be upheld and journalists should compromise with the ground realities and they should not be succumbed to pulls and pressures while reporting. He also expressed concern over ‘Paid News’. He said that external regulation and control were not proper for any institution and it should be by their own self restraints.
He said that freedom of speech and expression was a fundamental right and was the touch-stone of all the freedom in a democracy. He said that the freedom of speech and expression which also includes freedom of media was the soul of democracy. He said that the press should not be only the watch dog of democracy but also the bloodhound for political, economic and social evils. He said that the credibility of the media lies in its commitment to truth, pursuits of democracy, fairness and objectivity and to a clear distinction between news, opinion and promotional inputs.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri P.C. Luhmi, Senior Journalist in his key note address said that media should not work under any pressure and there was a need for self introspection. He said that problems and challenges in the field of journalism needed to faced boldly. He said that since society was natural ally of the journalists he should try to keep his bonds to the society the best he can. He said that National Press Day was symbolic of free and responsible Press in India. He said that ‘Paid News’, contract system and pressure of newspapers owners on media was a matter of concern and added that if corrective measures were not taken it would prove detrimental to the society. He said that journalists owe more responsibility to the society and freedom should be maintained by observing self restraints and ethics.
Shri Ganesh Dutt, Vice Chairman, HIMUDA said that Press Day was media persons own Day and also a good platform for self introspection. He said that journalism was a sacred profession which needed to be served with utmost care so that correct and true information reached to the masses. He said that public issues and problems needed to be raised on priority besides developmental aspects of the government by the media.
Shri Sunil Bhatia, Station Director, All India Radio said that journalists should lay more stress on positive and developmental journalism without and bias. He said that positivity and factual news stories were always preferred by the masses.
Shri B.D. Sharma, Director, Information and Public Relations welcomed the Chief Guest and other dignitaries and detailed out the salient features of Freedom of the Media.
Shri Yogendra Kanwar, President, Himachal Journalist Forum said that the Forum has observed the National Press Day as National Demands Day for the Journalists and demanded the creation of a fresh Media Council through an Act of Parliament with all types of multifaceted media under its ambit. The Media Council should replace the existing Press Council of India and should act as a watchdog and oversee the working of the entire media.
Shri D.K. Pandhi, Shri Baldev Dukhya, Shri Yogendra Kanwar, Shri Shashi Kant, Shri Rajendra Rajan , Shri Ravinder Makhaikh and Smt. Nandini Mittal, Journalists also participated in the interactive session and gave their views on Freedom of Media on the occasion.
Earlier, Shri Ajay Mittal, Additional Chief Secretary and Shri P.C. Luhmi, senior Journalist were also honoured with shawl and Himachali cap.
Shri Pradeep Kunwar, Deputy Director, Information and Public Relations proposed vote of thanks.
Present on the occasion were senior journalists, press correspondents and officers of Information and Public Relations.