Speaking at the platinum jubilee celebrations of Tamil newspaper Daily Thanthi at the centenary hall of the University of Madras, on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the media across the nation should take an extra effort to maintain the credibility.
He said that even today, for many, the very beginning of the day is with a cup of tea and coffee in one hand and the newspaper in the other hand. “Today, the newspaper does nit just give news, they can also mold our thinking and open a window to the world,” he said.
He further added that in a broader context, media is a means of transforming the society and that is the reason that media is referred to as the fourth pillar of democracy. During his speech, Modi urged the need to maintain credibility and said that a healthy competition is always good for the democracy. “Today, every citizen analyze, discuss and attempt to cross check and verify the news that comes to him through multiple sources. Media must, therefore, make an extra effort to maintain credibility. Healthy competition among credible media platforms is also good for the health of our democracy,” he said.
Recalling the times of publications of Raja Ram Mohan Rai, Lok Manya Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi, Modi said that many newspapers that were published in those days are even flourishing till date. Talking about the bad points of the society in India today, the Prime Minister said that “After Independence, the rise of citizens gained importance in public discourse. Unfortunately, in our times, we seem to have neglected our individual collective sense of duty. This is in one way contributed to several ills that plague the society.”
He also added that vernacular newspapers continue to be important even today, as it was back then. Talking about the major responsibilities that the editors perform every day, Modi said that the freedom of the editors should be used wisely, keeping in mind the interest of the people.
On a serious note, we are all aware that there is too much happening in the world every day and every moment. It is the editors who select and decide what is important, and what should be given space on page one and less space or neglected. Editorial freedom must be used wisely in public interest. Equally, freedom to write and to decide what is to be written does not include the freedom to be less than accurate or factually incorrect,” Modi said.
Addressing the gathering, he further added that Mahatma Gandhi had once said that Press is the fourth estate, it is definitely a power, but the misuse of this power is a crime. Modi said that it was his firm belief whenever any reform is required in the media, it could only come from within through introspection.
Advising the media and press people not just to focus on politics, Modi said that he would be happy to see if the media also focuses on the success and achievements of 1.25 billion Indians. It is only fair that political discourse at length in democracy. However, India is more than to discuss politics. It is 1.25 billion India that make India what it is today. I would be happy to see media focus on their success and their achievements. In their endeavor, every citizen with a mobile phone is an ally,” Modi said.
Earlier the Prime Minister had also expressed his condolences and sympathies who lost their family members in the rain and floods in Chennai and other parts of the state. He also assured the victims of the flood-hit area that the central government will provide every possible support to them.
Along with Narendra Modi, Tamil Nadu Chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam, Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Pon Radhakrishnan also attended the function.